Today the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports the third human case of West Nile virus (WNV) for 2015. The reported case is in Simpson County. Cases have been previously reported in Adams and Hinds counties.

West Nile virus
Culex quinquefasciatus

The MSDH only reports laboratory-confirmed cases to the public. In 2014, Mississippi had 43 WNV cases and seven deaths.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs said this third case is a reminder of the importance of preventing mosquito exposure.

“Historically, this the time of year when we see the number of West Nile Virus cases begin to increase. The majority of cases are usually reported in August and September – although West Nile Virus cases can occur any time of the year,” said Dr. Dobbs.

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 a recommended 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.