A 68-year-old Westview woman has become the first Baltimore County resident this year to test positive for the West Nile virus.
The unidentified woman was admitted Saturday to an area hospital and remains there under treatment, according to the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. There was no word on her condition.
It was one of four new West Nile cases reported yesterday. Two were in Prince George's County, and a fourth in Washington County.
The cases bring the statewide total this year to 16. One death in Maryland has been attributed to the mosquito-borne illness, health officials said. Last year, Maryland reported six cases, half of which were fatal.
The virus, first detected in the United States in 1999, has spread across the country. It is carried by birds and spread to humans and horses by the bite of infected mosquitoes.
Most infected people experience no symptoms. A few may have a flulike reaction. Fewer than 1 percent, most of them elderly, or with weakened immune systems, will become seriously ill with encephalitis or meningitis -- inflammations of the brain and spinal tissue.
Besides the Westview woman, health officials said, a Boonsboro woman, 67, who became ill in late July has tested positive for the virus. She was never hospitalized and has recovered.
The Prince George's cases included a woman, 56, who recovered without hospitalization. A 70-year-old man from Fairmount Heights was admitted to a hospital in late August. Officials said he is still a patient there.