JACKSON, Miss. – Today, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports the second human West Nile virus (WNV) case of 2010. The case is in Winston County. The first case of the season was reported last month in Coahoma County.
In 2009, Mississippi had 53 WNV cases with four resulting in death. Mississippi’s first WNV case of 2009 occurred in January. Although WNV numbers were lower in 2009 than in the previous year, they are not an indicator for the 2010 WNV season.
“It is important to remember that while July, August and September are peak WNV mosquito reproduction months, all mosquito-borne diseases, including WNV, can occur in Mississippi throughout the year,” said Acting State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers.
Dr. Byers encourages Mississippians to take appropriate precautions to reduce the risk of contracting WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses year-round: 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).
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 a brochure on WNV, 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).