ARIZONA NEWS

Former Tempe police detective dies after contracting West Nile virus

Sep 23, 2021, 11:30 AM | Updated: 3:04 pm
(Twitter Photo/@TempePolice)...
(Twitter Photo/@TempePolice)
(Twitter Photo/@TempePolice)

PHOENIX — A former Tempe police detective has died after contracting West Nile virus, the department announced Thursday.

Nathan Ryberg had been in a medically induced coma since Sept. 11 while fighting the virus and encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, the Tempe Police Department said.

Ryberg served 31 years with Tempe police before retiring about six months ago.

He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Lori, 13 children and five grandchildren.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with expenses.

As of Thursday, 132 cases and five deaths due to West Nile virus have been reported in Arizona and nearly all have been in Maricopa County, according to state data.

That’s up from 11 cases and two deaths last year, which produced one of the driest monsoon seasons on record.

Phoenix has recorded 3.88 inches of rain during monsoon season, the third most in a season since the turn of the century.

In a blog post this week, the Arizona Department of Health Services recommended steps people can take to prevent mosquito bites.

It recommended using insect repellent, making sure open windows and doors have intact screens, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and eliminating standing water where mosquitos lay their eggs.

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Former Tempe police detective dies after contracting West Nile virus