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Two People Die From West Nile In Maricopa County

Arizona Department of Health Services
handout | agency

Health officials say Maricopa County has reported its first two deaths this season from the West Nile Virus. More than two dozen people have been infected in the county so far this year.

The two who died were both over 50 years old, the age group most at risk for serious complications of West Nile. The virus is typically transmitted through bites from infected mosquitoes.

It can cause serious illness in people and horses, but only about 20 percent of those infected will develop any symptoms at all. Those who do develop symptoms usually report fever, headache, body aches and muscle weakness. Severe cases can lead to paralysis or death. 

Last year, Maricopa County had 62 West Nile cases with two deaths.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

When senior field correspondent Stina Sieg was 22, she moved to the desert. She hasn’t been the same since. At the time, the Northern California native had just graduated from college and was hankering for wide-open spaces. So she took a leap and wrote to nearly every newspaper in New Mexico until one offered her a job. That’s how she became the photographer for a daily paper in the small town of Silver City. And that’s when she realized how much she loved storytelling. In the years since, the beauty of having people open up and share their stories — and trust her to tell them — has never gotten old to Sieg. Before coming to KJZZ, Sieg was also a writer and photographer at newspapers in Glenwood Springs, Colorado; Moab, Utah; and the Smoky Mountains town of Waynesville, North Carolina. She always had her hand in public radio, too, including hosting Morning Edition on a fill-in basis at WNCW in North Carolina. It’s still the best music station she’s found. When she’s not reporting, chances are Sieg is running, baking, knitting or driving to some far-flung town deep in the desert — just to see what it looks like.