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Miss. confirms 1st case of West Nile for ’08

The state Health Department said Monday that Mississippi’s first human case of West Nile virus for 2008 has been confirmed in Lincoln County.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists the Mississippi case as only the second in the nation this year.

Mississippi had 136 confirmed cases of West Nile virus in 2007, with four deaths.

The state epidemiologist, Dr. Mary Currier, said the mosquito-transmitted disease is most prevalent in mid- to late summer, but people should protect themselves year round because mosquitoes can be active any time in Mississippi.

Symptoms of West Nile virus may include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, a rash, muscle weakness or swollen lymph nodes. Infection can cause encephalitis or meningitis in a small number of people. Those illnesses can lead to paralysis, coma and possibly death.