West Nile Virus has claimed its first human victims in Montana according to the Montana Department of Health and Human Services.

"Unfortunately we have confirmed two deaths so far," said Joel Merriman of the DHHS Communicable Disease Control Bureau. "In total, we've had 15 cases of West Nile Virus infection. It's unfortunate, but not unexpected."

Merriman said that there are investigations into at least 15 more possible West Nile Virus cases. Both of the two deaths occurred to men over the age of 70.

"They were elderly, and they did have severe complications related to West Nile infection," Merriman said. "As far as deaths are concerned, we did have one death last year, and five back in 2007, so it's not out of the ordinary."

Nearly all of the recent cases of West Nile Virus have occurred in Eastern Montana.

Joel Merriman:

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