DETROIT (WXYZ) - The Michigan Department of Community Health confirms a fourth victim has died in Michigan from the West Nile virus.
The victim was an 86-year-old woman from Wayne County. She was the fourth victim in Michigan in 2012.
Authorities have not released the identity of the victim who died August 20.
The Michigan Department of Community Health is now calling the West Nile outbreak in Michigan an epidemic.
"I think it is serious," said Dr. Dean Sienko of the Michigan Department of Community Health. "We are having an epidemic in Michigan. We are seeing the highest numbers of West Nile that we have seen since 2002."
Older metro Detroit suburbs have been impacted at a higher rate such as Royal Oak, Redford, Westland and Berkley. Researchers say this is because these areas are densely populated and have storm drains where mosquitos like to breed.
Three previous deaths have also been reported.
The first Michigan victim was an elderly woman from Washtenaw County.
The second person to die from the virus was a 69-year-old man from Detroit.
An 84-year-old man from Texas who was living in Wayne County was the third victim to pass away from the virus.
The Wayne County Department of Public Health has set up the West Nile Virus Hotline for information including prevention tips. The number to call is (734)727-7445.
The CDC recently reported an alarming increase in West Nile cases across the country.
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