The Mississippi State Department of Health reports one death in a previously reported West Nile virus case in Jasper County and six new human cases in Hinds, Madison, Rankin (3), and Washington counties. That brings the state’s total to 39 cases for 2011, with three deaths.
So far this year, cases have been confirmed in Forrest (4), Hinds (6), Jones (4), Madison (6), Pearl River (6), Rankin (5), Washington (2) and one case each in Coahoma, Jasper, Lincoln, Tallahatchie, Tate, and Wayne counties.
Three deaths have been confirmed, in Jasper, Jones, and Pearl River counties.
In 2010, Mississippi had eight WNV cases and no deaths.
The health department says all residents should take precautions to reduce the risk of contracting WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses year-round: remove sources of standing water, especially after rainfall; if you will be in mosquito-prone areas, wear protective clothing (such as long-sleeved shirts and pants) during peak mosquito 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 on WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses, a checklist to reduce the mosquito population in and around homes, and a brochure on WNV, click on the link below the story to visit the MSDH website, or call the WNV toll-free hotline from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 1-877-WST-NILE (1-877-978-6453).