[The following is a press release from the Mississippi State Department of Health.]
JACKSON, Miss – Today, the Ministry of Health of the State of Mississippi (MSDH) reports on its first human case of the Western Nile virus (WNV) in 2019.
In 2018, Mississippi had 50 cases of WNV and no deaths. The first case was reported in mid-July.
"This first case of 2019 is a reminder that every year we have cases of WNV in Mississippi and that all Mississippi must act now to reduce the risk of infection regardless of where they live in the country. Most of the cases occur from July to September, so that can be expected, "said Dr. Paul Byers, State Epidemiologist MSDH. "While most infected people recover without long-term problems, some develop a more serious infection that can lead to complications and even deaths – especially in those older than 50 years old."
Symptoms of WNV infection are often mild and may include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, rash, muscle weakness or swollen lymph nodes. In a small number of cases, infection can lead to encephalitis or meningitis, which can lead to paralysis, death, and possible death.
MSDH proposes the following precautions to protect themselves and their families from mosquito-borne diseases:
• Use mosquito repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient such as DEET while you are outdoors.
• Remove all sources of standing water around the house and courtyard to prevent mosquito breeding.
• Wear loose, long clothes to cover your hands and feet when outdoors.
• Avoid areas where mosquitoes prevail.
For more information about mosquito-borne illnesses or for monitoring the current number of cases and WNV locations, visit the MSDH website at HealthyMS.com/westnile.