Mississippi State Department of Health urges residents to take West Nile precautions

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A Hinds County resident is reported to be the first to die from a West Nile virus infection this year.
“This sadly serves as an important reminder of the severity of West Nile virus, even though most of us will have no symptoms at all or the illness is mild,” said Mississippi State Department of Health Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers in a press release from MSDH.
There have been a total of 18 reported cases of the virus so far this year in Mississippi. Cases have been reported in Lee, Marion, Calhoun, Chickasaw, Copiah, Hinds, Grenada, Lamar, Lee, Leflore, Lowndes, Marion, Perry and Rankin counties.
Last year there were 38 reported cases of the virus, one of which involved a death.
Symptoms of the virus are typically mild, entailing fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, swollen lymph nodes and a rash, the release states.
A small number of people may develop more severe symptoms, such as encephalitis or meningitis, that could lead to paralysis or even death, the release states.
To reduce the risk of exposure of this mosquito borne virus, use mosquito repellent with DEET while outdoors, remove sources of standing water from around the home, wear loose light colored clothing that covers the arms and legs and avoid areas where the insects are prevalent, the release states.

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