JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The Mississippi State Department of Health reports three new human cases of West Nile virus, bringing the state's total to 26 so far for 2018.
The reported cases are in Hinds, Harrison and Walthall counties.
So far this year human cases have been reported in Adams (2), Calhoun (2), Copiah, Forrest (2), Harrison (1), Hinds (10), Itawamba, Jones, Madison, Marion, Oktibbeha, Pearl River, Walthall and Washington counties. In 2017, Mississippi had 63 WNV cases and two deaths.
State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said that Jackson residents should continue to be especially aware of WNV and the risk for infection. A total of 10 cases have been reported in Hinds County this year, all within the Jackson city limits.
"While all Mississippians are potentially at risk for WNV infection – regardless of the city or county in which you live or whether cases have been identified in your area – we are especially urging Jackson residents to take precautions against West Nile," he said.
Byers said that Mississippi is in its peak WNV season of July through September, and that while most people with WNV infection recover without any long-term problems, some develop a more severe infection that can lead to complications and even death – especially those over 50 years of age.
Symptoms of WNV infection are often mild and may include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, a rash, muscle weakness or swollen lymph nodes. In a small number of cases, infection can result in encephalitis or meningitis, which can lead to paralysis, coma and possibly death.
The MSDH suggests the following precautions to protect yourself and your family from mosquito-borne illnesses:
- Use a mosquito repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient such as DEET while you are outdoors.
- Remove all sources of standing water around your home and yard to prevent mosquito breeding.
- Wear long, loose clothing to cover the arms and legs when outdoors.
- Avoid areas where mosquitoes are prevalent.
For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, visit the MSDH website at HealthyMS.com/westnile.
Follow MSDH by email and social media at HealthyMS.com/connect.