Man, 78, becomes first San Diego County person to die of West Nile virus since 2007


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SAN DIEGO — A 78-year-old man has become the first person to die of West Nile virus in San Diego County since 2007.

The county's Health and Human Services Agency says the La Mesa man died earlier this month after being hospitalized with symptoms of encephalitis, a brain inflammation.

State testing confirmed Friday that the man had West Nile.

It's the seventh confirmed case in the county this year.

West Nile virus is carried by mosquitoes. Most people infected have no symptoms but the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are at risk for life-threatening complications.

Statewide, California is experiencing the highest numbers of West Nile virus cases in nearly a decade. More than 600 cases and 20 deaths have been reported.

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