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Updated Jul 31, 2013 - 10:07 am

Phoenix woman is county's first West Nile death of year

PHOENIX -- An elderly woman with underlying health issues is the first person in Maricopa County to have died this year from the West Nile virus.

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

There have been six cases reported this year. Last year there were 88 confirmed cases, four of which were fatal.

The woman's death was announced Wednesday, but department spokesman Jeanine Fowler said the woman died two weeks ago. Fowler said it took time to confirm that the woman had West Nile.

Fowler also said the woman lived in Phoenix's southeastern suburbs but that it's not clear where she contracted it. Fowler notes that West Nile is present throughout the county.

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