Second West Nile Virus case confirmed

Published 7:00 am Thursday, June 5, 2014

The second West Nile Virus case for 2014 has been confirmed this week, according to a press release from the Mississippi Department of Health.

The release states that the case is in Newton County. While the first case of the year was reported in Hinds County in February. Last year, 45 West Nile Cases and five deaths from the virus were reported in Mississippi.

“This serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of preventing mosquito exposures, particularly as we approach the historically active summer months,” said Mississippi Department of Health State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs in a press release.

Mosquitos carry four main types of viruses, West Nile, St. Louis encephalitis, LaCrosse encephalitis and Eastern Equine encephalitis.

Historically, West Nile Virus and St. Louis encephalitis are the two most common viruses spread by mosquitos in Mississippi. While anyone can contract West Nile Virus or St. Louis encephalitis, the elderly are more at risk, according to the Mississippi Department of Health’s website.

In order to prevent the breeding of mosquitos throughout the year, but especially during the summer, the Mississippi Department of Health suggests removing sources of standing water from around their home. Common sources of mosquito breeding sites include: tires, buckets, birdbaths, flower pots and saucers.

Individuals should also take steps to protect themselves from bites.

The Mississippi Department of Health suggests avoiding outside activities in the evenings and mornings when mosquitos are more active. The department of health recommends wearing shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors for long periods of time. Clothing should be light in color and made of tightly woven materials. Also, tuck pant legs into shoes or socks and keep collars buttoned.

The department of health suggests using insect repellants containing DEET or Picaridin while outdoors, but oil of lemon eucalyptus and Permethrin for clothing have been found to be effective.

When using DEET, the Mississippi Department of Health suggest the following few tips; read and follow instructions, use lower concentrations on children, don’t allow children to apply DEET repellent themselves, apply DEET repellant to clothes when possible, and don’t spray DEET directly on the face. Instead of spraying DEET on the face, spray the repellent onto the hands and then apply it to the face, while avoiding the eyes, mouth and nose.

Make sure to wash any DEET from clothing and skin after spending time outdoors.

For more information on preventing mosquito-borne illnesses, visit www.healthyms.org.