West Nile Virus Case Reported

'We're heading into our worst part of the season right now.'

Dr. Rebecca James is the district health officer from the Mississippi Department of Health, who's assigned to this area.

'It can affect anybody.'

She confirms that Mississippi's first victim of the virus this year is in Lauderdale County. However, for privacy reasons she says information about that person that can be released is limited.

'Fortunately, the person is having some of the milder symptoms and the symptoms of West Nile are generally: fever, weakness, sometimes nausea and vomiting and that's your typical response if you get sick from it,' says Dr. James.

Last year 52 cases of the virus were reported in Mississippi. Five of those cases resulted in death. Dr. James says the very young or old, who have compromised immune systems, are the most vulnerable to this virus which humans often contract from mosquitoes.

'Mosquitoes bite you, but they get it from the birds and birds can carry it a long way because they migrate.'

Dr. James says water that's confined outside becomes murkier when conditions are very dry. She says bird baths, water dishes for pets, and standing water in old tires create the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

To avoid the virus experts advise residents to empty containers with standing water when possible. Dress in long sleeves and pants and use bug spray that contains deet.

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