The number of West Nile Virus cases has climbed to 144, including five new human cases announced Wednesday. One human case has been diagnosed in Lauderdale County. The number of deaths so far in Mississippi stands at six.
Most of the reported human cases have exhibited the more severe form of West Nile virus infection, encephalitis and/or meningitis, usually with neurological symptom. Only a few experienced the milder West Nile fever.
The Department of Health strongly urges people to take personal protection measures, particularly people who are at higher risk of severe illness, the elderly and anyone with a weak immune system.
The five new human cases reported Wednesday include the following counties: Neshoba, Jones, Attala, Rankin, and Lauderdale.
Deaths occurred in Jones and Hinds Counties. The ages of the patients who have died range from 48-84. The median age of deaths is 65. Mississippi's attack rate is 5.00 per 100,000. The median age remains 52 with a range of 3 to 97 years of age. Of the human cases, 53 percent are male and 47 percent female.
Hinds County continues to report the largest number of human cases at 43.
Pike County maintains a case rate of 23.1 per 100,000, one of the highest rates among counties and parishes nationwide.
Scott County follows closely behind with a case rate of 17.66 per 100,000.
Mississippi now has identified West Nile virus infection as follows:
Residents of 40 counties have been diagnosed with the infection. Seventy-seven total counties have at least one West Nile virus infection.
The Mississippi State Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, and blood transfusion centers are investigating two persons with WN virus who received blood product transfusions before the development of their illness.
Consumers with questions about WN virus may call the Department of Health West Nile Hotline at 1-877-WST-NILE (1-877-978-6453) during normal weekday business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).
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