The Washington Post

First West Nile death reported in Virginia

Virginia health officials said an adult in the northwest part of the state has died of West Nile virus, the first such fatality this year in the commonwealth.

All three jurisdictions in the Washington metropolitan region have now reported fatalities this year. In the District, one elderly man has died and officials say there is at least one more confirmed case; Maryland has 21 reported cases and one death.

The number of West Nile virus cases reported in the United States this year through early September has set a record, with the highest year-to-date total since the mosquito-borne disease was first detected in this country in 1999, federal officials have said.

Texas and five other states have been among the hardest hit. But the Washington area is not experiencing a record number of cases, public health officials have said.

As of Tuesday, the virus has been reported in nine Virginians: four in the northwest region, two in the northern region, two in the central region, and one in the southwest region. There were nine reports of the disease in humans last year in Virginia.

For the years 2006 to 2010, the disease was reported in one to five people annually in Virginia. There was one death in 2011 and one in 2010; from 2006 to 2009, there were no deaths.

Lena H. Sun is a national reporter for The Washington Post, focusing on health.

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