1st West Nile virus death confirmed in Mississippi

(WMC-TV) - The Mississippi State Department of Health is reporting the state's first death from West Nile virus this year. In addition to the death, the department announced two new human cases of the virus.

The death was reported in Montgomery County. The two new cases were found in Forrest County and Wayne County.

The latest confirmations bring the total number of West Nile cases in Mississippi to six.

Last year, Mississippi had 247 West Nile virus cases and five deaths. At this time last year, there were no reported deaths from it in Mississippi.

"It's important to remember that we are now in peak West Nile season, which includes the months of July, August and September," said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs. "This is when we can expect to see the bulk of our cases throughout the state. It is important to be especially mindful of taking proper protective measures now, but West Nile virus can be contracted year-round."

Health officials say Mississippians should take precautions to protect themselves from mosquitoes. Some ways that can be done is by wearing protective clothing like long-sleeved shirts and pants during peak times for mosquitoes, which is from dusk to dawn. A bug repellent can also help ward off mosquitoes.

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