Health Department reports West Nile virus death in Madison Co.

Published 4:02 pm Friday, June 8, 2007

An unidentified victim of West Nile virus in Madison County has died, the state Health Department said in a news release Thursday.

It is the first death from West Nile virus this year. The infected person was one of four cases of the virus reported earlier this year. The other cases were in Walthall, Lawrence and Scott counties.

Thirteen of 183 people hit with the disease last year died and six of 70 victims died in 2005.

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Only the one death has been reported this year, but the peak mosquito breeding season comes this summer.

The Health Department recommends removing sources of standing water, avoiding mosquito-prone areas, especially between dusk and dawn when mosquito activity is highest, wearing protective clothing, and applying a mosquito repellent to reduce the risk of contracting mosquito-borne illnesses.

Symptoms of West Nile virus are often mild or flu-like and may include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, a rash, muscle weakness or swollen lymph nodes.

Infection can result in encephalitis or meningitis in a small number of people. Those illnesses can lead to paralysis, coma and possibly death.

About 80 percent of those infected with the virus suffer no symptoms.