Ex-Tempe police detective dies after getting West Nile virus

September 23, 2021 GMT

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — A former Tempe police detective has died after contracting West Nile virus, authorities said Thursday.

Police officials said Nathan Ryberg had been in a medically induced coma since Sept. 11 while fighting the virus plus encephalitis, which is an inflammation of the brain.

Officials said Ryberg served more than 32 years with Tempe police before retiring in February.

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

Police officials said the couple were foster parents to 30 children and adopted some of them.

There have been 132 cases of West Nile virus so far this year and five deaths reported in Arizona as of Thursday with nearly all of the cases being in Maricopa County.

The virus is typically spread through the bite of an infected mosquito, but health experts say only about 1 in 5 people infected will develop any symptoms.

Last year, Arizona reported 11 West Nile cases and two deaths during one of the driest monsoon seasons on record.

Phoenix has recorded nearly 4 inches of rain during this year’s monsoon season.