A 72-year-old Dale County man has been diagnosed with the West Nile virus -- the first confirmed case of a human infection in the state this year.
The man, who was not identified, was being treated for the virus, which in some people can lead to deadly encephalitis. State officials planned an afternoon news conference Wednesday.
Gov. Don Siegelman planned to announce a statewide action plan aimed at preventing further spread of the virus.
On Oct. 30 last year a 44-year-old Birmingham man died from the virus, the first and only such casualty in Alabama.
Most people bitten by an infected mosquito don't become noticeably ill, but some develop flu-like symptoms, and the weak and the elderly can get encephalitis, a potentially fatal brain infection.
There have been five deaths from West Nile virus this year in Louisiana, where 71 infections have been reported.
In neighboring Mississippi, 22 cases of human infections have been reported. The number of confirmed cases in which dead birds were found to have the virus in Alabama increased to 176 in 29 counties throughout the state, state health officials said Tuesday.
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Source: www.vdh.state.va.us contributed to this report
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