Mississippi records 40th West Nile virus case this year

A new case of West Nile virus was confirmed in Mississippi on Monday, bringing the state's total confirmed cases this year to 40.

The 40 cases of WNV reported in the state in 2013 have resulted in two deaths. There were 247 cases confirmed in 2012 that resulted in five deaths, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health.

Individuals can reduce the risk of contracting WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses by taking basic steps to reduce the mosquito population. Removing water that puddles or pools in various areas around a yard after a rainfall can reduce the number of mosquitoes that hatch.

Public health officials also suggest that individuals wear pants and shirts with long sleeves as well as mosquito repellent when in areas with concentrated mosquito populations. Whenever possible, those areas should be avoided during hours of darkness when mosquito activity is at its highest.

Those who contract WNV typically experience a high fever, headache, nausea and vomiting, rashes, weakened muscles and swollen lymph nodes. In addition, some cases of WNV result in encephalitis or meningitis, which can cause paralysis, coma and death, according to MSDH.

MSDH has set up a hotline to distribute information about WNV. The toll free number is 1-877-978-6453.