SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

Mississippi reports two new human West Nile virus cases

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported two new cases of West Nile virus on Monday in Hinds and Rankin counties, raising the state total in 2013 to 17 cases.

Laboratory-confirmed cases of West Nile virus were reported this year in Wayne, Rankin, Marion, Madison, Lowndes, Lincoln, Leflore, Lamar, Hinds, Forrest and Bolivar counties. Hinds County experienced four West Nile virus cases, while there were two cases reported in Rankin, Leflore and Forrest counties. The other counties reported one case of West Nile virus each.

One of the 17 cases of West Nile virus resulted in the patient's death.

Last year, Mississippi experienced 247 cases of West Nile virus and five deaths.

The MSDH recommends that Mississippians take appropriate precautions to lower the risk of contracting West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses. Some precautions include wearing protective clothing like long-sleeved shirts and pants during peak times from dusk till dawn, using a recommended mosquito repellent and removing sources of standing water, particularly after rainfall.

West Nile virus symptoms are typically mild and may include swollen lymph nodes, muscle weakness, rash, vomiting, nausea, headache and fever. In some cases, infection can cause encephalitis or meningitis, resulting in paralysis, coma and potentially death.