West Nile Virus in Mississippi

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State Health Officer Ed Thompson has confirmed the first human case of the West Nile virus in Mississippi.

The victim, whom Thompson would not identify, is a middle-aged Hinds County man who is hospitalized with encephalitis. Hinds County officials said the man, who is expected to make a full recovery, lives in Clinton.

Thompson says there's no reason to panic. He says the West Nile virus poses no more of a threat than other mosquito-born viruses that have been in the state for decades.

He says of the 159 humans to contract the West Nile virus in the United States, 18 have died.

Thompson says humans' immune system is able to rid itself of West Nile virus and the other mosquito-borne viruses.

Thompson says the man's physician notified authorities of the suspected case on July 12.

The Mississippi Public Health Laboratory and the federal Centers confirmed presence of the virus in the man's spinal fluid sample for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Previously, the virus has only been seen in Mississippi in birds and horses.