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Orange County reports first death from West Nile virus this year

Orange County reports first death from West Nile virus this year
West Nile season typically begins with warmer weather in the summer and continues into the fall. (Ben Garver / Associated Press)

Orange County health officials on Monday confirmed the county’s first death of the year linked to West Nile virus.

The patient was described as an “elderly'” Tustin woman who died of West Nile infection complications, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

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Health officials said the death should serve as a reminder to residents to take steps to clear their properties of standing water that can attract disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Symptoms of West Nile virus can include fever, headache, body aches, fatigue, swollen lymph glands or a skin rash. People with more serious neuroinvasive diseases can suffer severe headaches, neck stiffness, confusion, muscle weakness or vision loss, and they should seek medical care immediately.

People over age 50 and those with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk of serious complications from West Nile virus infection, health officials said.

As of Friday, five West Nile-related deaths had been reported statewide, but that figure did not include a death reported last week in Los Angeles County, the first of the year there.

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