California sees first 2 West Nile deaths of year

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California has recorded its first two deaths of the year from the mosquito-borne West Nile virus.

State Department of Public Health Director Ron Chapman said Wednesday that both the people who died were adults, one from Sacramento County and the other from Shasta County.

They were among the 35 Californians who have been diagnosed with West Nile in 2014, according to health officials. Sixteen of the cases were reported to the state this week.

Only 18 people had contracted the virus by this time last year.

West Virus is transmitted to humans and animals by infected mosquitoes. Chapman says residents can take steps to protect themselves by staying away from standing pools of water and wearing chemical insect repellant.

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