- Associated Press - Friday, July 17, 2015

PHOENIX (AP) - Two people with underlying health issues are the first in Maricopa County to have died from the West Nile virus this year.

Public Health Director Bob England said Friday a man in his early 60s and a woman in her 70s, both of whom lived in suburbs just east of Phoenix, are the first two deaths of the West Nile virus season.

England, however, cautioned that the disease is not limited to just that area.

He says health officials are seeing an increase in infections after rain last month.

Maricopa County has reported 17 lab-confirmed cases to date.

West Nile is transmitted to humans by bites from infected mosquitoes. About 20 percent of people will feel symptoms.

The symptoms range from mild and flu-like to severe neurological issues.

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