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Two more deaths from West Nile; latest victims in Jones County

Two Jones County residents have died after being affected with the West Nile virus, according to state health officials.

That brings to 10 the number of deaths this year from the virus, two shy of the record set in 2002.

The identities of the two Jones County residents who died from the virus were not released by state Department of Health officials.

Mississippi is past the peak season for the virus. Health Department spokeswoman Liz Sharlot said Friday there is a lag time between when those who died got infected and death occurred. She did not know when these latest fatalities got infected.

The number of human cases of the virus totals 166 this year. This time last year health officials reported 70 cases with six deaths. There were 165 cases in 2005.

In 2002, the year the mosquito-borne disease was first diagnosed in the state, there were 193 reported cases and 12 deaths.

State Health Officer Dr. Brian Amy said in a statement Friday that even though the peak season for the virus has passed, “residents should still practice protective measures to avoid mosquito bites.”

The Health Department estimates 80 percent of those infected with the virus will show no symptoms. The remainder will experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, nausea and vomiting. Other symptoms include a rash, muscle weakness and/or swollen lymph nodes.