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West Nile virus claims first LI victim

An elderly Town of Oyster Bay resident has become the first person to die from West Nile virus on Long Island this year, health officials said Friday.

The unidentified victim was described by Nassau County officials as more than 80 years old. More specific information, including the individual's gender, was withheld.

It's the second confirmed human case in Nassau this season. The first was reported Wednesday: a woman, also from the Town of Oyster Bay, who is recovering after being hospitalized, according to health officials.

There have been 13 reported human West Nile cases in New York State so far this year, and now two deaths, a state Health Department spokesman said. Last year, Nassau had 16 confirmed cases and one death.

Humans contract the virus from the bite of an infected mosquito. Sixty-eight mosquito samples from 42 trap sites around the county have tested positive, according to Nassau health officials.

The county is continuing its ground-spraying program, with the following areas scheduled for treatment Tuesday, weather permitting: city of Long Beach, Atlantic Beach, Atlantic Beach West, East Atlantic Beach, and Lido Beach. Scheduled for spraying Thursday are sections of Baldwin, Baldwin Harbor and Oceanside.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the number of cases reported through the third week of August -- 1,118 -- is the highest since 1999, when the virus first was detected in the United States.

On Thursday, Suffolk announced its second confirmed human West Nile case of the year, that of a Town of Huntington resident older than 55 who is recovering at home.

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