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Local West Nile cases now number 6

Pearl River County now has six reported cases of West Nile, one of those cases in this county led to death.

Other counties have reported more cases as well, bringing the total number of cases statewide to 33, according a release from the Mississippi State Department of Health.

Counties with cases of West Nile include, four in Forrest, five in Hinds, four in Jones, five in Madison, two in Rankin and one case each in Coahoma, Jasper, Lincoln, Tallahatchie, Tate, Wayne and Washington. The second death in state was reported in Jones county, the release states.

West Nile virus is transmitted though mosquito bites. Preventive measures can be taken to avoid contraction of the virus, including wearing protective clothing, using mosquito repellent, removing sources of standing water from around a home that are used by mosquitoes to breed and avoiding peak mosquito activity times such as dusk and dawn.

The release states most people who contract the virus do not know they have it, but there are a small number of people who will contract severe symptoms, such as encephalitis and meningitis that can lead to paralysis, coma or even death. For the most part symptoms are mild and include headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, rash, muscle weakness or swollen lymph nodes, the release states.

A question and answer post on the Pearl River County Emergency Management Center’s Facebook page provides more information about the virus, as well as case number updates. More information about West Nile virus or other mosquito borne illnesses can be found on the Mississippi State Department of Health’s Web site at www.HealthyMS.com/westnile or by calling the toll free hotline between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 1-877-WST-NILE(978-6543).