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Armed with pesticide-filled canisters, city health officials continued spraying stagnant pools of water Monday as the number of suspected cases of St. Louis encephalitis climbed to 37.

"At the moment we're not doing any aerial spraying, but we are placing pesticides in areas where there are pools of stagnant water, including backyard swimming pools, tire piles and other areas," said Sandra Mullin, spokeswoman for the city Department of Health.

Since the outbreak was reported last week, two elderly people in Queens have died from the mosquito-borne disease, and three other cases have been confirmed, Ms. Mullin said.

She said those three victims, whose identities were not released, were still in serious condition but showed signs of improvement.

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