The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) today confirmed five new human cases of West Nile virus (WNV), bringing the state total to 24 cases so far in 2014. The new cases were reported in Forrest (2), Harrison (1), and Hinds (2) counties.
So far this year, human WNV cases have been reported in the following counties: Adams (2), Bolivar (1), Covington (1), Forrest (4), Harrison (1), Hinds (6), Lauderdale (1), Madison (1), Newton (1), Rankin (4), Yazoo (1), and Wilkinson (1). Three WNV deaths have occurred, in Forrest, Madison, and Yazoo counties.
The MSDH only reports laboratory-confirmed cases to the public. In 2013, Mississippi had 45 WNV cases and five deaths.
Most individuals infected with WNV will not have any symptoms. People that do develop illness will usually have any combination of fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands. These symptoms generally appear two to 14 days following the bite of an infected mosquito.
Less than one percent of persons exposed to the virus will develop more severe infections, with symptoms such as headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis. In rare instances, WNV can be fatal. Persons over 50 years of age have the highest risk of developing more severe disease. People who are immunocompromised may also be at high risk of WNV infection.