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Mississippi Sees Its First West Nile Virus Case of Year

Staff reports

The Mississippi State Department of Health on Thursday reported the first human case of West Nile virus for Mississippi in 2018. It was in Hinds County.

In 2017, Mississippi had 63 WNV cases and two deaths, and the first case was reported in late June.

“This first case of 2018 is a reminder that each year we have WNV cases in Mississippi and that all Mississippians need to act now to reduce their risk of infection regardless of where they live in the state,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “Most cases occur from July through September.

“While most infected people recover without any long-term problems, some develop a more severe infection that can lead to complications and even death – especially in 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.

Suggested Precautions

  •  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.
  •  Avoid areas where mosquitoes are prevalent.
  •  For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, visit the MSDH website at HealthyMS.com/westnile.

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