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Officials: Oakland County woman, 81, is state's 1st West Nile virus death this year


PONTIAC, Michigan — Michigan health officials have confirmed this year's first death related to West Nile virus.

The Oakland County Health Division said Friday an 81-year-old county woman died from complications from the virus. It's Oakland's first West Nile-related death since 2003.

Several cases have been identified in the state, including two others in Oakland County and three more in Macomb, Monroe and Ottawa counties.

Mosquitoes pick up the virus from infected birds and pass it to people.

Many people infected with the virus have no symptoms, but it can cause a sometimes fatal neurologic illness.

Officials urge residents to empty standing water around homes, apply insect repellant, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants outdoors, and maintain window and door screening.

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