BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Mississippi State Department of Health has confirmed one new death in Pearl River County related to the West Nile Virus.
There are also new reports of five people infected with the virus in Madison, Pearl River, Tate and Washington Counties.
The two newly reported Pearl River County cases became ill sometime in late July through early August but were just recently determined to be positive for WNV after consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The other three cases became ill in mid-August.
So far this year, cases have been confirmed in Coahoma, Forrest (three), Hinds (four), Jones (three), Madison, Pearl River (six), and one case each in: Rankin, Tallahatchie, Tate, Wayne, and Washington counties. Two deaths have been confirmed in Jones and Pearl River counties.
In 2010, Mississippi had eight WNV cases and no deaths.
Mississippians are encouraged to take appropriate precautions to reduce the risk of contracting WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses year-round:
- remove sources of standing water, especially after rainfall
- if you will be in mosquito-prone areas, wear protective clothing (such as long-sleeved shirts and pants) during peak times from dusk until dawn
- use a recommended mosquito repellent according to manufacturer's directions
Symptoms of WNV infection 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 more information on WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses, a checklist to reduce the mosquito population in and around homes, and a brochure on WNV, visit the MSDH website at www.HealthyMS.com/westnile or call the WNV toll-free hotline from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 1-877-WST-NILE (1-877-978-6453).