The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports two human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) in Harrison County, as the state’s total to 33 so far for 2018.
So far this year human cases have been reported in Adams (2), Attala, Calhoun (2), Copiah, Forrest (2), Harrison (2), Hinds (12), Itawamba, Jones, Lauderdale, Madison, Marion, Oktibbeha, Pearl River, Rankin (2), Walthall and Washington counties. In 2017, Mississippi had 63 WNV cases and two deaths.
“We still have a few more weeks of peak West Nile season in Mississippi,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “It’s important to remember that all Mississippians need to take precautions, 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.
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