Mississippi has 26 new human cases of West Nile virus (WNV), bringing this year’s total for the mosquito-borne disease to 59 cases, including one death, Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports.
Reported cases for 2012 have already surpassed 2011’s total of 52 cases, although 5 West Nile virus-related deaths o ccured that year, the Department of Health says.
Among this year’s newly reported cases are Copiah (2), Franklin, Hancock, Hinds (4), Jones (2), Lauderdale, Leflore, Lincoln (2), Madison (3), Monroe, Rankin (6), Sunflower, and Washington counties.
July, August and September are peak months for WNV, but mosquito-borne illnesses can occur year-round.
Mississippians should take appropriate precautions to reduce the risk of contracting WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses: remove sources of standing water, especially after rainfall; and if you will be in mosquito-prone areas, wear protective clothing (such as long-sleeved shirts and pants) during peak times from dusk until dawn, and use a recommended mosquito repellent according to manufacturer’s directions.
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.