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Texas Records Two West Nile Deaths

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DALLAS, Aug 01, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Texas has recorded its first West Nile virus deaths of the year with the disease blamed for killing two elderly Texans.

The Dallas Morning News reported an unidentified 85-year-old Ennis woman died last weekend from encephalitis, or swelling of her brain, caused by a West Nile virus infection. The other victim -- a 68-year-old unidentified man from the Houston area -- died July 20.

Texas recorded 13 deaths during 2002 from the bird virus spread to humans by mosquito bites. About 20 percent of people who become infected suffer only minor headaches or fever. But health officials say about one in 100 people will develop more serious complications, such as encephalitis.

Federal officials said as of Thursday, 59 cases of West Nile virus infection had been reported this year, with Colorado reporting the most cases at 18.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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