By Dan Wing

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — Health officials in New Jersey are confirming the first death in the state this year related to West Nile virus. An elderly Burlington County man died earlier this week after being hospitalized on August 26th.

Authorities say the man developed symptoms of fever, weakness, and respiratory distress on August 20th, and was hospitalized nearly a week later.  He remained hospitalized till his death.

It was the first West Nile virus-related death in New Jersey since 2010, when two people died and the state reported 30 confirmed cases.

To date, more than half of the counties in New Jersey have reported at least one confirmed case of West Nile virus.  Ocean County has the most confirmed cases in the state, with three.

State epidemiologist Dr. Tina Tan says the elderly and people with a weakened immune system are most at risk of developing serious health complications related to West Nile, and that people who fall into either of those groups should take extra precautions against mosquito bites, such as wearing long-sleeved shirts, using repellent, and eliminating pools of standing water around the home, which are prime breeding grounds for mosquitos.

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