Today the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports two new West Nile virus (WNV) deaths in Mississippi residents for 2017. The residents were from Humphreys and Forrest (a previously reported case) counties. Additionally, the MSDH reports 12 new human cases of WNV, bringing the state total to 36 this year. The new cases were in Bolivar, Hinds, Humphreys, Lincoln, Madison (3), Noxubee, Rankin (3), and Wilkinson counties.
So far this year cases have been reported in Bolivar, Clay, Covington, Forrest (4), Hinds (7), Humphreys (2), Jones, Leake, Leflore, Lincoln (2), Lowndes, Madison (4), Noxubee, Perry, Rankin (6), Scott, and Wilkinson counties. Two deaths have been reported in Forrest and Humphreys counties.
Additional laboratory testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) failed to confirm WNV as the cause of death in a case previously reported in Grenada County.
In 2016, Mississippi had 43 WNV cases and two deaths.
Peak WNV season in Mississippi is July through September, although cases can occur at any time of the year.
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 virus has been detected in mosquitoes throughout the state, so residents in all counties should take the following precautions for protection against 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, light-colored, 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.