47 cases of West Nile diagnosed in state

Published 1:35 pm Tuesday, October 18, 2011

More cases of a mosquito borne illness that can become deadly in rare occasions have been reported in Mississippi.

There are now 47 confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in this state, six of which were reported in Pearl River County, according to information from the Mississippi Department of Health.

So far, there have been four deaths associated with the disease, one was reported in Pearl River County. Other counties to report a West Nile related death include Jasper, Jones and Leflore counties, the release states.

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In addition to the six cases reported in Pearl River County, four cases were reported in Forrest, seven in Hinds, six in Jones, seven in Madison, six in Rankin, two in Washington and one case each has been reported in Coahoma, Jasper, Leflore, Lincoln, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Wayne and Winston counties.

West Nile virus is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites, and the risk of contracting the virus can be minimized by taking precautions against being bitten. Those precautions can include removing sources of standing water, which is where mosquitos breed; wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, and using repellent in mosquito prone areas especially during times of peak mosquito activity at dusk and dawn.

The release statesĀ  most people who contract the virus do not show symptoms, but those that do experience mild symptoms of fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, rash, muscle weakness or swollen lymph nodes. Rare cases can include more severe symptoms such as encephalitis, meningitis, paralysis, coma or possibly death.

Last year eight cases of West Nile infection were reported in Mississippi, with no deaths, the release states.