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First 2013 case of West Nile virus in Massachusetts reported

BOSTON — Massachusetts health officials say they have confirmed the first case of West Nile virus in the state this season.

The health department said Monday that a Plymouth County man in his 70s has the mosquito-borne illness and is recovering in a hospital.

There were 33 cases of West Nile in the state last year. Symptoms of the virus are fever and flu-like illness.

Officials said last week that a Norfolk County woman in her 80s who recently died was the first case of Eastern equine encephalitis this year.

EEE is a more severe mosquito-borne illness that can lead to inflammation of the brain. There were seven cases of EEE in Massachusetts last year, and at least two deaths. EEE has been found in a couple of horses in Hampshire County already this year.

At least one person with an underlying medical condition died of West Nile last year.

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