Gulfport Residents Fight The Bite

A small crowd gathered in Unity Hall of Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church in Gulfport to "fight the bite."

The bite of a small domestic mosquito which carries the West Nile virus.

The virus recently struck close to home, prompting Council member Ella Holmes-Hines to call a "special session" within the community.

"Once I received the call on Friday about discussion in the community of a positive bluejay. Then I realized that most of the residents obviously have forgotten what the preventive measures are and its time to renew and refresh and commit to those positive developments," Holmes-Hines said.

Hines invited Dr. Robert Travnicek of the Mississippi State Department of Health to arm concerned residents with the first weapon of defense - knowledge.

"We got our first human case over in Alabama now. I guess there are five cases so we're getting into the season where we're going to start seeing human cases so it's not different than last year but we don't know whether we're going to have one or a thousand," Travnecik said.

Some of the most important things to remember is to avoid mosquitos whenever possible, especially at dawn and dusk.

Use mosquito repellent with DEET on the label.

And reduce the source of attracting mosquitos around your home - like cleaning rain gutters and eliminating standing water in bird baths and garbage cans.

According to the Mississippi Department of Health, the number of cases will reflect how well people protect themselves.

Hopefully, Mississippi will be successful in "fighting the bite."