west nile virus

One of the most recent confirmed cases of West Nile virus was found in a Jones County resident, according to a press release from the Mississippi State Department of Health. 

Two new cases of the mosquito-borne disease have been reported in the state, bringing the total for 2019 to nine. There were 50 confirmed cases in 2018, according to MSDH statistics.

Most WNV cases occur from July through September in Mississippi, said MSDH state epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers.

“We have not seen a large number of cases of West Nile so far this year, but we’re still in the midst of the usual peak season in Mississippi,” Byers said. “It is still important to protect yourself. While most infected people recover without any long-term problems, some develop a more severe infection that can lead to complications and even death – especially in those over 50 years of age.”

So far this year, WNV cases in humans have been reported in Forrest (2), Jones, Lamar, Smith, Copiah, Hinds, Jefferson and Leake counties.

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.

The MSDH suggests the following precautions to protect yourself and your family from mosquito-borne illnesses:

• Use a mosquito repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient such as DEET while you are outdoors.

• Remove all sources of standing water around your home and yard to prevent mosquito breeding.

• Wear loose, long clothing to cover the arms and legs when outdoors.

• Avoid areas where mosquitoes are prevalent.

For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, visit the MSDH website at 

HealthyMS.com/westnile.

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