State reports first West Nile virus death of year

By The Associated Press

JACKSON – State health officials say they’ve recorded the first West Nile virus death for 2011.

Acting State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said Tuesday that the death was a Jones County resident. Three additional West Nile virus cases were reported in Hinds, Pearl River and Wayne counties, bringing the total number of cases for the year to 13.

In 2010, Mississippi had eight WNV cases and no deaths.

Byers says it is the peak season for contracting West Nile and urged residents to protect themselves from mosquitoes by removing standing water, wear protective clothing and use repellant.