New case of West Nile Virus reported in Mississippi; six total cases found this year

Published 9:43 pm Monday, August 19, 2019

The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reported Monday that a new human case of West Nile virus (WNV) for 2019 was discovered, bringing the state total to six this year. The new case was reported in Leake County.

So far this year, human cases have been reported in Copiah, Forrest, Hinds, Lamar, Leake and Smith counties.

In 2018, Mississippi had 50 WNV cases and no deaths. The first case was reported in mid-July.

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“We know that West Nile virus exists throughout the state, so just because there has not been a case reported in your county, doesn’t mean you can ignore the precautions. You still need to be aware and protect yourself. Most cases occur from July through September,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “While most infected people recover without any long-term problems, some develop a more severe infection that can lead to complications and even death – especially in 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 loose, long clothing to cover the arms and legs when outdoors.
  • Avoid areas where mosquitoes are prevalent.