The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports two new human cases of West Nile virus (WNV), bringing the total to three for 2016. The reported cases are in Hinds and Grenada counties. The first case was reported last month in Lamar County.
The MSDH only reports laboratory-confirmed cases to the public. In 2015, Mississippi had 38 WNV cases and one death.
“We are approaching our peak time of the year for WNV cases in Mississippi, which is July through September,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs. “These new cases serve as a reminder that Mississippians should continue to take precautions to prevent infection as we move through the summer months.”
In previous years, WNV has been reported from all parts of the state. All Mississippians are potentially at risk – not just the areas where cases are reported.
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 environment from mosquito-borne illnesses:
- Use an EPA-registered mosquito repellent that contains DEET while you are outdoors.
- Remove all sources of standing water around your home and yard to prevent mosquito breeding.
- Wear loose, light-colored, long clothing to cover the arms and legs when outdoors.
- Avoid areas where mosquitoes are prevalent.