An elderly woman with underlying health issues is the first person in Maricopa County to have died this year from the West Nile virus.

Public Health Director Bob England said the woman's death is a sad reminder of the seriousness of the virus.

West Nile is transmitted to humans by bites from infected mosquitoes. Approximately 20 percent of people infected will feel flu-like symptoms.

The woman's death was announced Wednesday, but department spokesman Jeanine Fowler sayid the woman died two weeks ago. Fowler said it took time to confirm that the woman had West Nile.

Fowler also said the woman lived in Phoenix's southeastern suburbs but that it's not clear where she contracted it. Fowler noted that West Nile is present throughout the county.