UPDATE: Miss. has 1st West Nile death

JACKSON — The Mississippi Department of Health has reported the state’s first West Nile death of the 2009 season.

The agency, in a news release, said the victim was a Washington County resident.

There have been a total of six West Nile virus cases since July 2009 — two each in Washington and Harrison counties and one each in Hinds and Marion counties. One case of St. Louis encephalitis was reported in Forrest County.

In 2008, there were 65 confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne illness in the state with three deaths.

Officials encourage residents to take precautions, including removing sources of standing water, avoiding mosquito-prone areas, wearing protective clothing and applying a mosquito repellent that contains DEET.

The Associated Press