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The Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man has tested positive for West Nile virus, the state’s first known case of a human contracting the potentially deadly disease.

Officials at the Department of Health said Monday they believe the patient has the virus, although federal officials are also testing him. The man is hospitalized in intensive care.

“He is quite sick,” state epidemiologist Steven Wiersma said. Wiersma said the northern Florida man, whose name was not released, is more than 50 years old.

Mosquitoes can transmit the virus to people, birds and other animals. The disease usually causes only flu-like symptoms, although it can kill older people or those with weakened immune systems. It has killed nine people in New York and New Jersey in the last two years.

The virus has been found in birds in seven north Florida counties since it was first detected in early July. A horse died from the disease.

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