Macedonia reports first West Nile virus fatality

September 20, 2012

A person infected with the mosquito-borne West Nile virus has died in Macedonia and two other people are undergoing treatment in a Skopje hospital, the health ministry said Thursday.

The death was the first of a virus carrier in the Balkans country, but four other people have died in the region since the start of the month.

"A 53-year- died from encephalitis caused by the and two other people have been hospitalised in Skopje", the country's capital, said the ministry in a statement.

The three were admitted to hospital last week.

The pair undergoing hospital treatment—a seven-year-old boy and a 66-year-old, are recovering, the ministry said.

Neighbouring Serbia has reported three dead and Kosovo one.

Serbian health officials said 37 people were infected in the country.

First discovered in Uganda in 1937, the virus is carried by birds and spread to humans by mosquitoes.

It can cause symptoms similar to flu, but in extreme cases can result in fever, coma and a lethal swelling of the , known as encephalitis. It can also cause meningitis.

There is no known cure for the disease but 80 percent of those infected will not develop any symptoms at all.

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