JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi health officials are reporting two new travel-related cases of the Zika virus in the state. That brings the 2016 total to 23 in Mississippi. According to the health department, the two new cases are residents of Prentiss County, who recently traveled to the island of Grenada in the West Indies.
Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that may cause severe defects in a developing fetus, including brain damage and impaired growth; if the mother is infected during pregnancy. So far there haven't been any locally transmitted cases of Zika in Mississippi. At this point, all have been travel related.
Health officials are also reporting a new case of West Nile Virus (WNV); bringing the 2016 total to 22 in Mississippi. The new WNV case is reportedly in Rankin County. There has been one death associated with West Nile in Mississippi this year. Last year, Mississippi had 38 WNV cases, and one death.
The MSDH suggests the following precautions to protect yourself from mosquito-borne illnesses;
- Use a mosquito repellent with an EPA registered ingredient such as DEET while outdoors
- Remove all sources of standing water around your home to prevent mosquito breeding
- Wear loose, light colored, long clothing to cover your skin when outdoors
- Avoid areas where mosquitoes are prevalent