JACKSON, Miss. – Today the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports two new human cases of West Nile virus (WNV), bringing the state’s total to 42 so far for 2018. The reported cases are in Hinds and Calhoun counties.
So far this year human cases have been reported in Adams (2), Attala, Calhoun (3), Copiah, Forrest (2), Harrison (4), Hinds (16), Itawamba, Jones, Lauderdale, Madison (2), Marion, Oktibbeha, Pearl River, Rankin (2), Walthall and Washington (2) counties. In 2017, Mississippi had 63 WNV cases and two deaths.
Peak WNV season in Mississippi typically ends in September, but activity is still being reported statewide, said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. All Mississippians should take precautions against mosquitoes, regardless of reports of human cases in specific counties.
Byers said that while most people with WNV recover without any long-term problems, some develop a more severe infection that can lead to complications and even death ¬— especially 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 long, loose 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.
Press Contact: MSDH Office of Communications, (601) 576-7667
Note to media: After hours or during emergencies, call 1-866-HLTHY4U (1-866-458-4948)