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Health officials report Ohio’s 1st West Nile death of 2019

REYNOLDSBURG (AP) — The Ohio Department of Health has confirmed the first human death in the state this year from the West Nile virus.

Authorities said Wednesday that a 68-year-old Lucas County man hospitalized with encephalitis also was the first human case in the state this year.

Health officials say Ohio had six fatalities among 65 human West Nile cases in 2017, after five deaths among 34 human cases in 2016.

On Tuesday, Agriculture Department officials reported two confirmed West Nile cases among horses in the state.

Most West Nile cases are transmitted by mosquitoes. Authorities urge using repellant and protective clothing, and eliminating standing water and other potential mosquito breeding areas.

Most infected people don’t have symptoms, but some get flu-like symptoms. A few will develop serious neurologic illness.