COLUMBUS, Ohio — The state has reported Ohio’s first death from the West Nile virus this year.

The Department of Health said Wednesday the victim was a 74-year-old man from Defiance County in northwestern Ohio who had been hospitalized with encephalitis.

The agency says 10 human cases of the virus have been reported statewide this year.

Ohio had 17 West Nile virus cases in 2016 including four deaths, 35 in 2015 including two deaths and 11 in 2014 including one death.

Bites from infected mosquitoes are the way most people receive the virus. Most individuals who become infected don’t have symptoms.

Sietske de Fijter (SEETS’-kah deh FEYT’-er), state epidemiologist and bureau chief of infectious diseases, says people should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites.

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