SANTA ANA ( — A La Habra woman in her 60s is the first West Nile virus-related death in Orange County this year, health officials said Wednesday.

According to the Orange County Health Care Agency, the unidentified woman died of WNV infection complications. The agency did not provide the exact date of her death.

“This unfortunate death shows how serious West Nile virus infection can be,” said Dr. Eric Handler, the county’s health officer. “It is important for people to remember that the end of summer does not mean the end of West Nile virus season.”

Orange County has had 29 symptomatic WNV infections reported this year, and all but one of those patients was hospitalized. Twenty-five had WNV Neuroinvasive disease and four had WNV fever.

The number of cases is actually much higher, because 80 percent of people infected with WNV have no symptoms and a majority of cases do not seek medical care and are not tested, according to health officials.

In 2015, Orange County logged 97 reported human infections of WNV and eight WNV-related deaths, while Los Angeles County recorded 300 human infections and 24 fatalities.

Cases are generally reported between July and October or early November.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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