JACKSON, Miss. – Today the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports one new human case of West Nile virus (WNV) for 2013. The reported case was in Forrest County, bringing the state total for 2013 to two cases.
In April of this year, one case was reported in Madison County. The MSDH only reports laboratory-confirmed cases to the public.
In 2012, Mississippi had a record number of human WNV cases. Last year, the state reported 247 WNV cases and five deaths.
“While we can’t predict what this year’s WNV numbers will look like, we do know we are now entering our high-risk WNV season, as we typically see more human cases in July, August and September than in other months. We encourage all residents throughout the state to take precautions to prevent infection,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs.
Mississippians should take the following precautions to reduce the risk of contracting WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses year-round: remove sources of standing water, especially after rainfall; and if you will be in mosquito-prone areas, wear protective clothing (such as long-sleeved shirts and pants) during peak times from dusk until dawn, and use a recommended mosquito repellent according to manufacturer’s directions.
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.
For more information on WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses, a checklist to reduce the mosquito population in and around homes, and recommended mosquito repellents, visit the MSDH website at www.HealthyMS.com/westnile or call the WNV toll-free hotline from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 1-877-WST-NILE (1-877-978-6453).