JACKSON, Miss. – Today the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports the first human case of West Nile virus (WNV) in 2016, also the first human case of WNV in the nation so far this year. The reported case is in Lamar County.
The MSDH only reports laboratory-confirmed cases to the public. In 2015, Mississippi had 38 WNV cases and one death.
“While WNV can occur any time of the year, we see the bulk of our cases during peak season, which is July through September. Now that school is out and the weather is warm, it is time to be extremely vigilant when going outdoors,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs.
In previous years, WNV has been reported from all parts of the state. All Mississippians are potentially at risk – not just the areas where cases are reported.
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 recommended mosquito repellent that contains 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.
Please see www.HealthyMS.com/westnile for more information.
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Press Contact: MSDH Office of Communications, (601) 576-7667
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