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JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports three new human cases of West Nile virus (WNV), bringing the 2016 state total to eight. The reported cases are in Hinds (2) and Lowndes counties.
So far this year, human cases of WNV have been reported in Hinds (3), Grenada, Lamar (2), Lowndes and Rankin counties. The MSDH only reports laboratory-confirmed cases to the public. In 2015, Mississippi had 38 WNV cases and one death.
“We are in peak West Nile virus season in Mississippi, and all residents should be mindful of protecting themselves, regardless of whether there has been a case reported in your county,” said MSDH Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers.
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 environment 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, 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 and HealthyMs.com/zika.