July 14, 2009
The state Health Department reported Mississippi''s first case of West Nile Virus on Tuesday, alerting the public to avoid standing water and mosquito-prone areas when insects are most active.
"West Nile virus season is here and it is important that all Mississippians take steps to protect themselves and their family members from mosquito-borne diseases, including West Nile virus," State Epidemiologist Dr. Mary Currier said in a release.
The first case of the summer occurred in Harrison County on the Gulf Coast, officials said. The department also reported a case that first surfaced in January has been confirmed as being a West Nile Virus case.
The state had 65 reported cases of West Nil Virus last year, with three resulting in death.
The department said steps the public should take to avoid the disease include removing sources of standing water; avoiding mosquito-prone areas, especially between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active; wearing protective clothing (such as long-sleeved shirts and pants) when in mosquito-prone areas; and applying a DEET-based mosquito repellent.
Symptoms of the disease 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.
For information, visit the Health Department Web site at www.HealthyMS.com/westnile, or call the WNV toll-free hotline from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 1-877-WST-NILE (1-877-978-6453).