Today the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) confirms three new human cases of West Nile virus (WNV), bringing the state total to 40 cases and five deaths so far in 2014. The new cases were reported in Lowndes, Neshoba, and Rankin counties.
So far this year, human WNV cases have been reported in the following counties: Adams (3), Bolivar (1), Carroll (1), Coahoma (1), Clarke (1), Covington (1), Forrest (6), Harrison (1), Hinds (9), Jones (1), Lauderdale (1), Lee (1), Lowndes (1), Madison (1), Monroe (1), Neshoba (1), Newton (1), Rankin (5), Yazoo (1), Washington (1), and Wilkinson (1). Five WNV deaths have occurred, in Coahoma, Forrest, Lee, Madison, and Yazoo counties.
The MSDH only reports laboratory-confirmed cases to the public. In 2013, Mississippi had 45 WNV cases and five deaths.
West Nile virus is an arthropod-borne virus (arbovirus) most commonly spread by infected mosquitoes. West Nile virus can cause febrile illness, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord).
It was first detected in North America in 1999, and has since spread across the continental United States andCanada.
Most people get infected with West Nile virus by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to humans and other animals.
In a very small number of cases, West Nile virus has been spread through blood transfusions, organ transplants, and from mother to baby during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding, according to the CDC.
As of September 23, a total of 46 states and the District of Columbia have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. Overall, 979 cases of West Nile virus disease in people have been reported to CDC. Of these, 544 (56%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 435 (44%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page