Nine new West Nile virus cases in Mississippi

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - There are nine new human West Nile virus cases in Forrest, Hinds, Jasper, Jones, Lincoln, Madison (3), and Rankin counties, bringing the state's total to 33 for 2011. That's according to a Mississippi State Department of Health report released Monday.

So far this year, cases have been confirmed in Forrest (4), Hinds (5), Jones (4), Madison (5), Pearl River (6), Rankin (2) and one case each in Coahoma, Jasper, Lincoln, 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 mosquito times from dusk until dawn; and 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, and a checklist to reduce the mosquito population in and around homes, visit the MSDH website at 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).

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