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First West Nile virus case of 2024 confirmed in Mississippi

Mosquito (Image courtesy of the CDC)

The first Mississippi case of West Nile virus has been discovered in Rankin County, confirmed by the Mississippi State Department of Health on Thursday.

Most people infected with the virus, which is primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, do not develop symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About one in five people infected with the disease develop symptoms like a headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rashes.

MSDH reported 37 cases of West Nile virus across 14 Mississippi counties in 2023.

Summertime brings prime conditions for mosquitos to potentially spread illnesses like West Nile virus. While the risk of a healthy person contracting WNV from a mosquito bite is low, MSDH recommends that residents take precautions including:

  • Staying indoors at night
  • Using mosquito spray with DEET — an chemical active in insect repellants
  • Wearing long-sleeved clothing outdoors when practical

Other tips from the department include removing standing water around your home and yard to prevent mosquito breeding, and avoiding areas where mosquitoes are prevalent.

In 2023, Mississippi’s first case was discovered on August 17, indicating this season could be busier than last.

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