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West Nile Cases Reach More Counties

Posted by Steve Rogers | August 20, 2012 / 01:27pm | Local News, Health

Today the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports 17 new human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) for 2012. The reported cases are in Forrest (1), Hinds (2), Jones (1), Lamar (1), Lincoln (1), Lowndes (1), Marion (1), Rankin (5), Sunflower (2), and Washington (1) counties with one additional unknown county, bringing the state total for 2012 to 76 cases and one death.

In 2011, Mississippi had 52 WNV cases and five deaths. The MSDH only reports laboratory-confirmed cases to the public.

July, August and September are peak months for WNV, but mosquito-borne illnesses can occur year-round. Mississippians should take appropriate precautions to reduce the risk of contracting WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses: remove sources of standing water, especially after rainfall; and if you will be in mosquito-prone areas, wear protective clothing (such as long-sleeved shirts and pants) during peak times from dusk until dawn, and use a recommended mosquito repellent according to manufacturer’s directions.

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.

For more information on WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses, a checklist to reduce the mosquito population in and around homes, and recommended mosquito repellents, visit the MSDH website at www.HealthyMS.com/westnile or call the WNV toll-free hotline from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 1-877-WST-NILE (1-877-978-6453).

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