JACKSON, Miss. – Today the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports one West Nile virus (WNV) death in a Leflore County resident and seven new human cases in Jones (2), Leflore, Madison, Rankin, Sunflower, and Winston counties, bringing the state’s total to 46 cases for 2011 with four deaths.
So far this year, cases have been confirmed in Forrest (4), Hinds (6), Jones (6), Madison (7), Pearl River (6), Rankin (6), Washington (2) and one case each in Coahoma, Jasper, Leflore, Lincoln, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Wayne, and Winston counties. Four deaths have been confirmed, in Jasper, Jones, Leflore, and Pearl River counties.
In 2010, Mississippi had eight WNV cases and no deaths.
Mississippians are encouraged to take appropriate precautions to reduce the risk of contracting WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses year-round: remove sources of standing water, especially after rainfall; if you will be in mosquito-prone areas, wear protective clothing (such as long-sleeved shirts and pants) during peak mosquito times from dusk until dawn; and use a recommended mosquito repellent according to manufacturer’s directions.
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.
For more information on WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses, a checklist to reduce the mosquito population in and around homes, and a brochure on WNV, visit the MSDH website at www.HealthyMS.com/westnile or call the WNV toll-free hotline from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 1-877-WST-NILE (1-877-978-6453).