JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Mississippi State Department of Health reported Thursday two new human cases of West Nile virus for 2019, bringing the state total to 15 this year.
The new cases were reported in Calhoun and Clay counties.
So far this year, human cases have been reported in Calhoun, Clay, Copiah, Forrest, Hinds, Jefferson, Jones, Lamar, Leake, Rankin and Smith counties. In 2018, Mississippi had 50 WNV cases and no deaths.
“This is a great reminder that we do see West Nile cases year-round in Mississippi," said said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “While we are out of peak season, the threat is still there. It’s important to protect yourself.”
Byers said while most infected people recover without any long-term problems, some develop a more severe infection that can lead to complications and even death, especially in 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.
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 loose, long 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.