New Jersey health officials have confirmed a second death from the West Nile virus this year amid a spike in cases due to the weather.
Officials said Monday an elderly Bergen County woman passed away this month in addition to the 62-year-old man reported earlier to have died — also a resident of Bergen County.
The health commissioner says the pattern of hot and wet weather this summer led to an increase in mosquito populations and associated viruses. New Jersey has seen 31 human West Nile cases this year, the highest level since 2012. There were only 8 cases reported in the state in 2017.
About 20 percent of infected people develop West Nile fever, which in severe cases can bring high fever, neck stiffness and swelling of the brain. Residents are urged to reduce standing water to curb mosquito populations.