For up-to-date information on West Nile and other mosquito-borne viruses see our Mosquito-Borne Illnesses pages or call the West Nile virus toll-free hotline at 1-877-WST-NILE from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Today, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports one new human case of West Nile virus (WNV) for 2008, bringing the state’s total number of WNV cases to nine. The new case is in Pearl River County. The agency also reports two additional cases of LaCrosse encephalitis (LAC) in Hinds and Adams counties, bringing the state’s total of LAC cases to three. A case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a horse has also been reported in Jackson County. EEE can be transmitted to humans and horses by mosquitoes that have bitten an infected bird. The MSDH reports both confirmed and probable cases to the public.
Since March 2008, WNV cases have been reported in Hinds, Lincoln, Forrest, Jones (3), Madison (2) and Pearl River counties. Three cases of LAC have been reported in Adams, Hinds and Yazoo counties.
The MSDH conducts statewide mosquito testing with its most intensive surveillance during the peak WNV, LAC and EEE mosquito reproduction months of July, August and September.
The MSDH encourages all Mississippians to take the following precautions to reduce the risk of contracting WNV, LAC, EEE and other mosquito-borne illnesses: remove sources of standing water; avoid mosquito-prone areas, especially between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active; wear protective clothing (such as long-sleeved shirts and pants) when in mosquito-prone areas; and apply a DEET-based mosquito repellent according to the 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.
People infected with LAC often have no symptoms, but some may experience fever, headache, vomiting, lethargy and sometimes seizures. Infants and children infected with LAC usually have more severe symptoms than adults. The illness is generally mild with less than one percent mortality.
MSDH encourages Mississippians to take the following simple precautions to reduce their risk of contracting West Nile virus, LaCrosse encephalitis, and other mosquito-borne illnesses:
- Remove sources of standing water
- Avoid mosquito-prone areas, especially between dusk and dawn when mosquito activity is highest
- Wear protective clothing (such as long-sleeved shirts and pants) when in mosquito-prone areas
- Apply a mosquito repellent according to the manufacturer's instructions
To protect your your home:
- Drain or dump any source of standing water around the home
- Dispose of containers and debris which can collect or hold water
- Remove all leaf debris
- Dispose of used tires
- Clean rain gutters and swimming pools
- Change the water in bird baths weekly
- Use over-the-counter larvaciding products that can be purchased at home improvement stores
- Eliminate pools of standing, stagnant water, especially with organic debris
- Repair damaged or torn window and door screens that stay open
- Regularly clean outdoor pet food and water dishes; remove any not being used
- Close garbage can lids and be sure water does not collect in the bottom of the cans
- Check around construction sites to ensure that proper backfilling and grading prevent drainage problems
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Press Contact: Liz Sharlot, Carol Jones or Elizabeth Grey, (601) 576-7667.