West Nile Virus has spread throughout most of Mississippi, with cases reported in all but a handful of the state's 82 counties, the state Department of Health confirms. Health officials said Monday that a total 139 people have been infected with the mosquito-borne disease as of the most recent count.
West Nile virus infection has been found in either birds, horses, humans or mosquitoes in 77 counties. Six new cases were reported Friday, a day after health officials reported the fourth West Nile death in Mississippi. The new cases occurred in Hinds, Adams, Simpson and Copiah counties. Populous Hinds County has the most cases with 44.
State health officials have declined to identify victims of West Nile. About 53 percent of Mississippi's human cases are male. The median age of those with reported cases is 52, with a range from age 3 to 97.
Most of the reported human cases have exhibited West Nile encephalitis and/or meningitis, the more severe form of the virus, the health department said. The milder West Nile fever has afflicted only a few of the Mississippi cases.