On August 14, 2017, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports six new human case of West Nile virus (WNV), bringing the 2017 state total to 25. The cases were in Clay, Forrest, Hinds, Leake, Lowndes, and Rankin counties.
So far this year cases have been reported in Clay, Covington, Forrest (4), Grenada, Hinds (6), Humphreys, Jones, Leake, Leflore, Lincoln, Lowndes, Madison, Perry, Rankin (3), and Scott counties. One death has been reported in Grenada County.
The MSDH only reports laboratory-confirmed cases to the public. In 2016, Mississippi had 43 WNV cases and two deaths.
Peak WNV season in Mississippi is July through September, although cases can occur at any time of the year.
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 virus has been detected in mosquitoes throughout the state, so residents in all counties should take the following precautions for protection against 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/westnile.
Follow MSDH by e-mail and social media at HealthyMS.com/connect.