The Mississippi State Department of Health reports 26 new human cases of West Nile virus for 2012.
The reported cases are in Copiah (2), Franklin, Hancock, Hinds (4), Jones (2), Lauderdale, Leflore, Lincoln (2), Madison (3), Monroe, Rankin (6), Sunflower, and Washington counties.
The total number for the year in Mississippi stands at 59. One person has died.
In 2011, Mississippi had 52 WNV cases and five deaths. The MSDH only reports laboratory-confirmed cases to the public.
The health department says July, August and September are peak months for WNV, but mosquito-borne illnesses can occur year-round.
It recommends taking precautions to reduce the risk of contracting WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses: remove sources of standing water, especially after rainfall; and if you will be in mosquito-prone areas, wear protective clothing (such as long-sleeved shirts and pants) during peak times from dusk until dawn, and use a recommended mosquito repellent according to manufacturer’s directions.
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.
For more information about West Nile virus, click the link below.