TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey’s Health Department is reporting five people have died from West Nile virus in the state.

Two deaths occurred in Passaic County and there was one each in Burlington, Gloucester and Ocean counties.

State health officials say 45 cases of the mosquito-borne illness have been reported in people in 16 counties around the state.

Mosquitoes get the virus from feeding on infected birds and then spread it to people they bite. The elderly and those with weakened immune systems are most at risk of serious health complications.

Cases typically peak in late summer or early fall.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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