August 15, 2017 10:30:59 AM
The Mississippi State Department of Health has confirmed two human cases of West Nile Virus in Clay and Lowndes counties.
Both cases were part of six across the state the department confirmed through a press release on Monday. Other new cases were reported in Forrest, Hinds, Leake and Rankin counties. MSDH has reported 25 laboratory-confirmed West Nile cases this year, with one death. In 2016, 43 cases of the virus were reported in the state, with two deaths.
The recently confirmed cases in Clay and Lowndes are the first reported this year in the Golden Triangle. One case of the virus was reported in Lowndes County last year. No cases were reported in the Golden Triangle in 2015.
West Nile Virus cases can occur at any time, but peak season in Mississippi runs from July through September.
West Nile symptoms can be mild and include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, a rash, muscle weakness or swollen lymph nodes, according to MSDH. In some cases, the infection can lead to encephalitis or meningitis, which can cause paralysis, coma and possibly death.
MSDH recommends the following precautions to protect against West Nile and other 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, light-colored, long clothing to cover the arms and legs when outdoors; and
■ avoid areas where mosquitoes are prevalent.
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