Today the Mississippi Department of Health confirmed three additional human cases of West Nile virus - one in Clay County, one in DeSoto County, and one in Grenada County residents. Health officials also report one additional death that occurred in a previously reported human case from Hinds County.
This brings the state’s total number of identified human cases to 28 and four deaths. This time last year, Mississippi reported 80 human cases of West Nile virus and one death.
According to State Epidemiologist Dr. Mills McNeill, health officials are still awaiting final test results for a total of 23 suspected human cases of West Nile virus.
He added, “Mosquito-borne viruses are identified every year in Mississippi, and our improved statewide surveillance system for West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne viruses helps us successfully detect these cases.”
“West Nile virus is here to stay in Mississippi,” said Dr. McNeill. “The West Nile virus season will begin to wind down, when colder weather arrives in Mississippi. Therefore, it is still important that we all remain vigilant by taking personal precautionary measures to reduce exposure to mosquitoes.”
Mississippians can reduce their risk of contracting West Nile virus by taking simple precautions. Such measures: removing sources of standing water; avoiding mosquito-prone areas, especially at night when mosquito activity is highest; wearing protective clothing when in mosquito-prone areas; and using insect repellants that contain DEET when outdoors.
Symptoms of West Nile virus infection are often mild or flu-like and may include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, a rash, muscle weakness and swollen lymph nodes. In a small number of people, infection can cause encephalitis or meningitis which may result in paralysis, coma and possibly death.