First Human West Nile Infection Confirmed

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed the first human West Nile infection in Ohio, in a 26-year-old man who was one of the state's first two suspected cases.

The state awaits confirmation of many other suspected West Nile cases, including four deaths, from a CDC laboratory in Fort Collins, Colo.

The Ohio Department of Health received results in the first case late Wednesday, spokesman Kristopher Weiss said.

The Columbus man was discharged in good condition from Ohio State University Medical Center in mid-August. The other case was a 76-year-old woman from Brook Park, who remained in critical condition Thursday at Southwest General Hospital in Middleburg Heights. State officials did not release their names.

The virus first was found in the state in a blue jay in July 2001. It is carried by mosquitos and can be fatal to birds and horses, but rarely to humans.

The state sends samples to the CDC when initial tests show a particular antibody in fluid surrounding the spinal cord or in the blood that indicates West Nile, Weiss has said.

The CDC reports 737 probable infections nationwide, including 40 deaths, mostly in Louisiana, Mississippi and Illinois.

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