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Older adult is first Va. West Nile virus death

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 11, 2012

An older adult from northwest Virginia is the state's first death from West Nile virus in 2012.

According to the Virginia Department of Health, nine cases of West Nile virus have been reported as of Tuesday.

Four are in the northwest region, two in the northern region, two are in the central region, and one is in the southwest region.

West Nile virus is primarily transmitted by mosquitoes, which have become infected by feeding on birds with high levels of the virus in their blood. They pass on the virus by biting humans and animals.

Humans who are infected by the virus may show no signs of it or experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, muscle pains, rashes or swollen lymph nodes.

Officials encourage residents to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and long pants when they go outdoors to protect themselves from infection.

Nationwide, this has been a record year for the number of West Nile virus cases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, West Nile virus has been confirmed in 48 states. Nearly 2,000 cases have been reported, with 87 deaths.

Though the disease itself is on the rise, Virginia has so far reported the same number of cases as last year, according to the state health department.

Both D.C. and Maryland have already reported a West Nile death this year.

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