LEBANON, Mo. (AP) - Missouri health officials say a Laclede County man who died earlier this month is the state's first fatality blamed on the West Nile virus.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services says the 78-year-old victim contracted the illness in late July. A spokeswoman for the state health department declined to be more specific about where the man lived, but the Lebanon Daily Record reported he was a Lebanon resident.
The state says three other people have are believed to have contracted the West Nile disease.
Mosquitoes pick up the virus from birds they bite and then pass it on to people. Typically, most cases are reported in August and September.
West Nile causes only mild illness in most people, but it can become serious, with permanent neurological effects.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)