The average child catches between six and 10 colds a year. Unfortunately, there are much more severe health concerns out there — some of which have been stagnant for years. Today the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports two new human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) for 2019, bringing the state total to nine this year. The new cases were reported in Jefferson and Jones counties.
So far this year, human cases have been reported in Copiah, Forrest (2), Hinds, Jefferson, Jones, Lamar, Leake and Smith counties. In 2018, Mississippi had 50 WNV cases and no deaths.
Most WNV cases occur from July through September in Mississippi, said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers.
“We have not seen a large number of cases of West Nile so far this year, but we’re still in the midst of the usual peak season in Mississippi,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “It is still important to protect yourself. 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.
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, 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.
Follow MSDH by email and social media at HealthyMS.com/connect.