89-year-old NM man dies of West Nile

West Nile Mosquito

SANTA FE (KRQE) – An 89-year-old man from Lea County has died from West Nile Virus, according to the New Mexico Department of Health.

This is the first death due to the virus this year, but eight total cases in the state have been confirmed this year.

The man had been hospitalized with a more severe form of the virus called encephalitis.

The youngest person with the virus in New Mexico this year is a 7-year-old boy from De Baca County.

In a news release sent Tuesday, Department of Health Secretary Retta Ward, MPH, said “West Nile virus infection can potentially lead to serious complications in anyone who gets infected; but it’s especially true for people older than 50. It’s important that everyone take the appropriate precautions to protect themselves from mosquito bites.”

Symptoms of West Nile are fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. People are infected with the virus after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

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