Mississippi health officials reported today the first case of human West Nile virus (WNV) in the state this year in a resident of Lamar County.

Culex tarsalis mosquito/CDC
Culex tarsalis mosquito/CDC

In 2015, Mississippi had 38 WNV cases and one death.

“While WNV can occur any time of the year, we see the bulk of our cases during peak season, which is July through September. Now that school is out and the weather is warm, it is time to be extremely vigilant when going outdoors,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs.

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.

While state health officials say the case in the first in the nation, the City of El Paso, Texas reported a confirmed case 10 days ago.