Mississippi has sixth case of West Nile virus

Published 10:23 pm Saturday, July 7, 2007

The Mississippi Department of Health confirmed Friday the sixth human case of West Nile virus.

The new case was in Rankin County, according to a news release.

At least one of the state’s six cases have resulted in a death.

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Since April, the following counties have reported West Nile virus cases: Lawrence (1); Walthall (1); Madison (1); Jones (1) and Rankin (2), according to the release.

“West Nile virus is serious, but it is preventable,” Dr. Ed Thompson, interim state Health Officer, said in the release.

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 the 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.

For more information on West Nile virus, a checklist to reduce the mosquito population in and around homes, and a brochure on the virus, visit the Department of Healths Web site at www.HealthyMS.com/westnile or call the West Nile virus toll-free hotline from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at 1-877-WST-NILE (1-877-978-6453).