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West Nile death confirmed

Associated Press

ST. PAUL -- A Hennepin County woman in her 70s has died after being infected with West Nile virus, Minnesota Department of Health officials said Friday.

She is the first person to die from West Nile encephalitis in Minnesota this year, and the first confirmed case of the virus in humans. The woman was hospitalized before dying earlier this month.

Her name was not released.

Health officials said Minnesota has entered the period of highest risk for West Nile virus in humans. Western and central Minnesota are at highest risk for the disease, which can occur anywhere in the state. Also, the risk of developing serious forms of illness from the virus increases with age.

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Last year, there were 45 cases of West Nile virus in humans, and three deaths.

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