- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico health officials are reporting the state’s first West Nile virus death of 2014.

The Department of Health says an 89-year-old Lea (lee) County man who died from West Nile had been hospitalized for encephalitis, the more severe clinical form of the disease.

The department says eight cases of West Nile virus infection have been confirmed in the state this year.

New Mexico reported 38 cases of West Nile in 2013, including three fatalities.

People become infected with West Nile virus from the bite of an infected mosquito, and September is one of the peak months for the virus.

A department veterinarian says mosquito populations are high throughout the state because of large amounts of rainfall. Dr. Paull Ettestad says everyone should assume that mosquitoes are carrying the virus.

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