Mississippi’s West Nile Virus season continues to unfold.
The State Department of Health has confirmed three new cases, bringing the state’s total up to 26 for 2018.
While a majority of WNV cases are minor and never show symptoms, a recent Fox News report stated that Mississippi is seeing a high number of severe cases.
“Louisiana and Mississippi are leading the nation in the number of people who have become the most seriously ill from West Nile virus this year,” the report states.
As of August 21st, the CDC confirmed that Mississippi has seen 15 “neuroinvasive” cases. No deaths have occurred in the state, but eight have been reported across the country.
State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers stated that Mississippi is usually among the states with the highest rates for West Nile virus. Last year, Mississippi had 63 cases and two deaths.
Byers said that Mississippi is in its peak WNV season of July through September, and that while most people with WNV infection recover without any long-term problems, some develop a more severe infection that can lead to complications and even death – especially those over 50 years of age.
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 family from mosquito-borne illnesses:
- Use a mosquito repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient such as DEET while you are outdoors.
- Remove all sources of standing water around your home and yard to prevent mosquito breeding.
- Wear long, loose clothing to cover the arms and legs when outdoors.
- Avoid areas where mosquitoes are prevalent.