West Nile Virus kills first Mississippian in 2015

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The first death of the year from the West Nile virus was confirmed in Attala County yesterday by the Mississippi State Department of Health. The department reported a total of 18 confirmed WNV cases for 2015 in Adams, Attala, Covington, Forrest, Hinds, Madison, Montgomery, Rankin and Simpson counties, according to a press release from MSDH.

Last year, Mississippi reported 43 WNV cases and seven deaths resulting from people contracting the mosquito-borne virus.

Symptoms of the WNV are often mild and could include fever, headache, nausea, a rash, vomiting, swollen lymph nodes or muscle weakness. Though the chances are small, WNV infections could result in meningitis or encephalitis, which can lead to coma, paralysis and possibly death.

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The majority of WNV cases are reported in August and September, the press release states.

There are numerous precautions Mississippians can take to ensure they protect themselves and their loved ones from mosquito-borne illnesses, including wearing loose, light-colored apparel that covers arms and legs when outdoors, avoiding mosquito-infested areas, using mosquito repellent and removing all sources of standing water around the home, the press release states.

For more information about mosquito-related illnesses, visit www.HealthyMS.com/westnile.