BALTIMORE (WBOC/AP)- Maryland public health officials say the first confirmed death from West Nile virus in 2015 has been reported.
The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said Tuesday that the patient, identified only as an older adult who lived in Baltimore County, died on Sept. 8.
Officials said the death was confirmed to be attributed to West Nile virus on Monday.
The department says there have been 29 confirmed cases of West Nile virus infection so far this year in Maryland, compared with six last year.
The disease is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. West Nile virus has been detected in mosquito pools collected in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, according to the department. A mosquito pool is a group of mosquitoes collected at one of several trap sites across the state.
Deputy Secretary of Public Health Dr. Howard Haft said while the virus usually produces few or no symptoms, people over 60 have the greatest risk of developing severe disease.
“While the virus can occur symptom-free in people and resolve itself naturally in a few weeks, it can cause sickness or death, typically in older people," Haft said.