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13 more cases of West Nile virus confirmed

The Mississippi Department of Health has confirmed 13 more human cases of West Nile virus.

Officials say that brings the state to 30 cases of the virus this summer with two deaths.

Three new cases were reported in Forrest County, two in Hinds County and one each in Harrison, Lamar, Marion, Pike, Rankin, Stone, Washington and Wayne counties.

At the same time last year, there were 14 confirmed cases and one death from West Nile.

The virus is carried primarily by birds but can be transmitted by mosquitoes to humans, horses and other animals. The first documented case of the disease in the United States occurred in New York in 1999, and it has since spread westward into nearly every state.

Health officials say Mississippi’s West Nile season usually peaks in July, August and September.

Steps that can help reduce the risk include removing sources of standing water, avoiding mosquito-prone areas, wearing protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and pants, and applying repellent.

Symptoms of West Nile virus infection are often mild or flu-like and may include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, rash, muscle weakness or swollen lymph nodes. In a small number of people, infection can result in encephalitis or meningitis which can lead to paralysis, coma and possibly death.

On the Net:

Mississippi Department of Health site: www.HealthyMS.com