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Woman from Benton County has first case of West Nile virus in Washington this year

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SEATTLE — State health officials say a Benton County woman in her 50s has the first reported case of West Nile virus in Washington this year.

Although most cases of the illness happen in south-central Washington, the mosquito species that transmits the virus can be found throughout the state.

Nationally, six states have reported West Nile virus infections in humans this year. The Department of Health says tests also have confirmed the virus in mosquito samples from Franklin, Yakima and Grant counties.

Most people infected with West Nile virus won't get sick. However, about one in five people will develop a fever and other symptoms and the illness can be fatal.

Last year, 12 human cases of West Nile virus were reported in Washington. The state's most active year for West Nile virus was 2009 with 38 human cases.

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