On July 30th, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reported three new human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV). The reported cases are in Hinds (2) and Itawamba counties.
So far this year human cases have been reported in Copiah, Hinds (4), Itawamba, and Pearl River counties. In 2017, Mississippi had 63 WNV cases and two deaths.
MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers reminds Mississippians that peak West Nile Virus season is July through September. 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, he said.
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.
Avoid areas where mosquitoes are prevalent.
For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, visit the MSDH website at HealthyMS.com/westnile.