Pa. records 1st death from West Nile virus

Pa. records first West Nile related death

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Health officials say an elderly northeastern Pennsylvania man who had contracted West Nile virus has died.

Department of Health spokeswoman Kait Gillis said officials received confirmation of the death of the Luzerne County resident on Monday, but she isn't sure exactly when the victim died. She said he was more than 80 years old.

The commonwealth has recorded 12 human cases of the virus so far this year, an increase from a total of seven cases last year. There are still two people who've tested positive for the West Nile virus--in Lehigh and Chester counties.

The health department says statewide sampling shows higher numbers of infected mosquitoes than in any summer since monitoring began a decade ago.

Older people and those with weakened immune systems are at greatest risk of severe illness including encephalitis from West Nile virus.

Residents are being urged to minimize exposure to mosquitoes.

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