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Mississippi’s West Nile Virus numbers climbing

The state’s West Nile virus count continues to rise.

The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) has confirmed three new cases of the virus, bringing the total up to seven for 2018. Two of the new cases are in Hinds while the other is in Itawamba County.

Hinds now has four confirmed cases of West Nile virus, while the remaining cases are in Copiah, Itawamba, and Pearl River. West Nile virus season lasts from July-September, and the MSDH continues to urge Mississippians to use preventative measures when it comes to mosquitos.

    • 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 loose, light-colored, long clothing to cover the arms and legs when outdoors.
    • Avoid areas where mosquitoes are prevalent.

While most people 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, according to state epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers.

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.

Dr. Byers stated that if you begin to experience any symptoms, see a doctor immediately.

In 2017, Mississippi had 63 WNV cases and two deaths.

For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, visit the MSDH website at HealthyMS.com/westnile.

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