Five cases of West Nile Virus now reported in Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. — Health officials in Mississippi reports two new cases of the West Nile Virus have been confirmed in the state bringing the total number for this year to five.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in Forrest, Lamar, Smith, Hinds and Copiah counties.

“While most Mississippians are aware of the existence of West Nile virus, it’s easy to forget how dangerous it can be. We need to remember that we have WNV cases in Mississippi every year, and that everyone needs to act now to reduce their risk of infection regardless of where they live in the state. Most cases occur from July through September,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “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.”

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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