Preventing West Nile Virus

Cases of West Nile virus are now turning up in Mississippi and Alabama. Health care officials say this is nothing to take lightly.

So far this year, three human cases of the virus have been reported in Mississippi.

With no cure or specific treatment available, health officers are reminding the public that this mosquito-borne virus is something serious.

"People generally don't worry about it because 80% of the people who get it don't even have symptoms," said Dr. Rebecca James of the Mississippi Department of Health. "Might now even have a mild illness. But because 1 out of 150 who get it can get serious neurological illness and die from it, it is important."

West Nile virus typically peaks during July through October. Doctors say the very young, senior citizens or people with compromised immune symptoms are the most susceptible to contracting it.

The best way to avoid getting the virus is by using insect repellent and avoiding the outside during the early morning and late afternoon hours when mosquitoes are most prevalent.

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