By The Associated Press
JACKSON — The Mississippi State Department of Health is reporting six new human cases of West Nile virus.
The new cases were reported in Adams, Calhoun, Forrest, Jackson, Smith and Tippah counties, bringing the state total to 242 cases and five deaths. This is the highest number of West Nile virus cases ever reported in Mississippi.
In 2011, Mississippi had 52 West Nile virus cases and five deaths. The Health Department only reports laboratory-confirmed cases to the public.
Health officials say although the weather is cooler now, the mosquito-borne virus can occur year-round, including the late fall and winter months. Officials say Mississippians still need to take precautions to protect themselves from mosquitoes.