LANSING (WWJ/AP) – A second person in Michigan has now died from the West Nile virus, and 18 more cases have been reported this week.

The Michigan Department of Community Health on Thursday released figures showing two deaths now being blamed on West Nile and 41 total cases this season.

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The latest victim is a 69-year-old man from Detroit. Officials last week said an elderly woman in Washtenaw County died from West Nile.

The Michigan health report comes a day after federal officials reported four times the usual number of cases in the current U.S. West Nile outbreak.

State health officials say the dry summer is partly to blame for the influx of West Nile danger. Heavy rains flush out the mosquitos which carry the virus and, with the drought, that just hasn’t been happening.

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So far, more than 1,100 illnesses and 41 deaths have been reported nationwide. Typically, fewer than 300 cases are reported by mid-August.

Michigan residents are encouraged to take the following steps to avoid WNV:

• Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes out of buildings.
• Empty water from mosquito breeding sites such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes lay eggs.
• Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other EPA approved repellent to exposed skin or clothing, especially during peak mosquito activity periods such as dusk and dawn.
• Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.

More information on West Nile can be found at this link.

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