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Brookhaven Resident Dies From West Nile Virus

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (AP) -- The West Nile virus has claimed its first victim this year in Suffolk County.

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services says Thursday that a Brookhaven resident, who had an underlying medical condition and was under the age of 55 has died. The unidentified victim is one of 11 people who have tested positive for the virus in the county this year.

In Nassau County, the virus has claimed two victims far this year, both over the age of 80.

Health officials say residents can protect themselves by wearing mosquito repellent and covering their arms and legs. Homeowners should also change the water in birdbaths every few days.

West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes that often pick up the virus from birds they bite. Symptoms include neck stiffness and disorientation and can lead to coma and paralysis.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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