ST. PAUL (AP) — An elderly Stevens County woman has died of West Nile virus, becoming the first Minnesotan to die of the virus this year.

State health officials did not identify the woman. The Minnesota Department of Health says she was hospitalized earlier this month.

There are now 20 confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne illness in Minnesota.

The health department is investigating up to 10 more suspected cases.

Officials say it's important to take precautions against mosquito bites to minimize the risk.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.