Four people in Louisiana have already died this year from the symptoms related to West Nile virus. And Mississippi now has 22 confirmed cases of West Nile in humans.
West Nile is a virus spread by the bite of an infected mosquito, and it can infect people, horses, many types of birds, and other animals.
Most people infected have no symptoms at all, or only experience mild ones. But some can come down with the severe and fatal illness known as West Nile encephalitis, which is an inflammation of the brain.
National health officials say the virus is here to stay and that simple prevention efforts, such as wearing insect repellent, is the best way to manage the epidemic.
"Well some of the things that can be done are to try and control the mosquito population up front. And there are ways of killing larval forms of mosquitoes, but also the adult insects can be killed through spraying programs and so forth. But probably the most important thing is for people to just be alert of the risks," said one health official.
Here are some tips you can take to reduce the risks of contracting West Nile virus.
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Source: www.vdh.state.va.us contributed to this report
Whenever outside, you should spray insect repellent with deet over your body and your clothes.
You should also try to stay inside at dusk and dawn, which are peak mosquito hours. And you need to remove stagnant water from around your house.
The Meridian area saw another downpour of rain this afternoon, so if you have standing water around you, make sure you empty the containers, to limit the breeding ground for mosquitoes.