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First West Nile death of 2014 in Maricopa County confirmed

PHOENIX — The first Maricopa County death of 2014 attributed to West Nile virus has been confirmed, health officials said in a Thursday press release.

The victim, a man from the East Valley who was not identified, was in his 60s and had other health issues.

“Sadly, there is another victim of West Nile virus, a disease we now see every year,” said Dr. Bob England, director of Maricopa County Department of Public Health, in a release. “We can’t stress enough the importance in all of us doing our part in ridding our properties of standing water, where mosquitoes like to breed. A little effort can go a long way in protecting the whole community from West Nile virus.”

Three other cases of West Nile have been confirmed in Maricopa County this year.

Since being discovered in the Valley in 2003, more than 1,000 people have reportedly been infected by the mosquito-borne virus.

Last year, 52 cases of West Nile were confirmed in Maricopa County. The county’s worst year for the virus came in 2004, when 355 cases were confirmed.