The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) has confirmed that the state’s second case of West Nile virus for 2018 has been diagnosed.
The first case came from Hinds County, and the new case is in Pearl River County. As the state continues to brace for the peak of West Nile season, the MSDH warns that preventative measures must be taken.
“We are now in the peak West Nile season months in Mississippi of July through September. It’s important to remember to protect yourself any time there is an opportunity for exposure to mosquitoes,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “While most infected people recover without any long-term problems, some develop a more severe infection that can lead to complications and even death – especially in those over 50 years of age.”
According to the CDC, Most people (8 out of 10) infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms, but when symptoms do occur they can be severe.
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 loose, light-colored, long clothing to cover the arms and legs when outdoors.
- Avoid areas where mosquitoes are prevalent.
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.