JACKSON, MS (AP) - The Mississippi State Department of Health said Tuesday one new case of West Nile virus has been reported in Rankin County and two new cases of Zika virus have been reported in DeSoto and Madison Counties.
The health department said this is the fourth reported case of West Nile in Mississippi this year. Last year, Mississippi had 38 cases of the virus and one death.
"The most important thing to remember is that West Nile virus is in Mississippi and continues to be a major health threat," said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs. "We are now in peak West Nile season, and we advise all Mississippians to continue to take precautions to prevent infection as we move through the late months."
Symptoms of West Nile include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, rash, muscle weakness or swollen lymph nodes. Infection can result in encephalitis or meningitis which can lead to paralysis, coma and possibly death. This only happens in a small number of cases.
The two new Zika virus cases drive the state's total for 2016 to five. All five cases are travel related.
Zika can cause a mild illness with symptoms lasting several days, but the biggest risk comes to pregnant mothers. The virus can cause severe birth defects if contracted by the mother during pregnancy.
Here are some tips to help you beat the mosquitos during the hot summer months:
- Use an EPA-registered mosquito repellent that contains DEET while you are outdoors.
- Remove all sources of standing water around your home and yard to prevent mosquito breeding.
- Wear loose, light-colored, long clothing to cover the arms and legs when outdoors.
- Avoid areas where mosquitoes are prevalent.