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Mississippi confirms 1st case of West Nile virus for 2019

The Mississippi State Department of Health is reporting the state’s first human case of West Nile virus this year.

The department says Thursday that the case is in Smith County, in the central part of the state.

In 2018, Mississippi had 50 cases of the mosquito-borne illness, with no deaths from it. In 2017, the state had 63 cases with two deaths.

The state epidemiologist, Dr. Paul Byers, says most cases occur between July and September.

Symptoms may include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, rash, muscle weakness or swollen lymph nodes. In a small number of cases, infection can cause encephalitis or meningitis, which can lead to paralysis, coma and possibly death.

Health officials urge people to reduce risk by using insect repellent, wearing long, light-colored clothes and eliminating standing water.

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