Health officials report 17 new West Nile cases in Miss.

Published 4:20 pm Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mississippi health officials report that the number of West Nile virus cases in the state is up sharply.

The Mississippi State Department of Health said the 17 new human cases of the mosquito-transmitted disease pushed the state’s total for the year to 34, with one death.

The new cases are in Forrest, Hinds (2), Jasper, Jones (2), Lamar, Leake, Madison (2), Marion (2), Neshoba (2), Rankin, Scott and Washington counties.

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MSDH also reported Monday one additional case of LaCrosse encephalitis in Amite County, bringing the state’s total of LAC cases to four.

West Nile infection can cause encephalitis or meningitis in a small number of people. Those illnesses can lead to paralysis, coma and possibly death.