Another West Nile virus, chinkungunya

Published 7:00 am Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Mississippi State Department of Health reports another case of West Nile virus and another case of chikungunya virus in this state.

According to a press release sent out Monday by the department, a third confirmed case of West Nile virus was reported in Rankin County.

The other two cases in the state were reported in Hinds and Newton counties. Only cases confirmed by laboratory testing are made public, the release states.

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According to the release, a fifth chikungunya virus case has been reported in a Mississippi resident.

Four of the five cases in this state reported so far involve residents who previously traveled to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the release states. It was not made clear in the release if the fifth person had traveled overseas.

“We are now in the traditional peak season for West Nile in Mississippi, while more cases of chikungunya continue to be reported as Mississippi residents return from travel to Caribbean countries. This is an important reminder that you should protect yourself from all mosquito-borne illnesses,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs in the release.

As always, the Department of Health suggests taking precautions against mosquito bites to protect against contracting the viruses and diseases they carry when outside.

Precautions include using a repellant containing the ingredient DEET, removing standing water from around the home that the insects use to breed, wearing loose clothing that has light colors and covers the arms and legs and avoiding areas where mosquitos are most active.

The release states that mosquitoes that carry the chikungunya virus most active during the day, but those that carry the West Nile virus are active during dusk and dawn.

Anyone traveling abroad, especially to areas in the Caribbean, should exercise the same precautions, the release states.