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 the first death of the 2008 West Nile virus (WNV) season related to complications from WNV infection. The deceased was a Forrest County resident.
Additionally, the agency reports two more new human cases of WNV, bringing the state's total number of WNV cases to 17. The new cases are in Forrest and Neshoba counties. The MSDH reports both confirmed and probable cases to the public. The Board of Animal Health has also notified MSDH of one additional case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), a mosquito-borne illness that can affect humans, in a horse in Stone County.
Since March 2008, WNV cases have been reported in Clarke, Forrest (2), Harrison, Hinds, Jones (3), Lawrence, Lincoln, Madison (2), Monroe (2), Neshoba (2) and Pearl River counties. Three cases of LaCrosse Encephalitis (LAC) have been reported in Adams, Hinds and Yazoo counties. Five cases of EEE in horses have been reported.
The MSDH conducts statewide mosquito testing with its most intensive surveillance during the peak WNV mosquito reproduction months of July, August and September. It is important to remember that mosquito-borne diseases, including WNV, are located throughout the state.
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.