(The following is a press release from the MSDH.)
Today the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports six new human cases of West Nile virus (WNV), bringing the state’s total to 13 so far for 2018. The reported cases are in Adams, Forrest, Hinds (2), Marion, and Oktibbeha counties.
So far this year human cases have been reported in Adams, Copiah, Forrest, Hinds (6), Itawamba, Marion, Oktibbeha, and Pearl River counties. In 2017, Mississippi had 63 WNV cases and two deaths.
“We do know that mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus are active throughout the state, so just because a case has not yet been reported in your county of residence does not mean you shouldn’t take precautions against mosquitoes,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “Peak WNV season is July through September in Mississippi.”
Byers added that while most people recover without any long-term problems, some develop a more severe infection that can lead to complications and even death – especially those over 50 years of age.
Symptoms of WNV infection are often mild and may include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, a rash, muscle weakness or swollen lymph nodes. In a small number of cases, infection can result in encephalitis or meningitis, which can lead to paralysis, coma and possibly death.
The MSDH suggests the following precautions to protect yourself and your family from mosquito-borne illnesses:
• Use a mosquito repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient such as DEET while you are outdoors.
• Remove all sources of standing water around your home and yard to prevent mosquito breeding.
• Wear loose, light-colored, long clothing to cover the arms and legs when outdoors.