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West Nile Virus Claims Life of Harrison County Resident

From: Mississippi Department of Health    Filed 12/1/06  GCN

This week the Mississippi Department of Health (MDH) reported five new West Nile virus (WNV) human cases, bringing the state’s WNV human case total to 180, with 11 resulting in death. The new WNV human cases were reported in the following counties: Harrison, Hinds (2), Jones, and Madison.  

One new WNV human death was reported in a Harrison County resident. This time last year, Mississippi health officials reported 70 human WNV cases with six deaths.

State Health Officer Dr. Brian Amy reminds Mississippians that although Mississippi is out of the traditional WNV peak season, residents should still practice protective measures to avoid mosquito bites.

Mississippians can take the following simple precautions to reduce their risk of contracting West Nile virus: remove sources of standing water; avoid mosquito-prone areas, especially at night when mosquito activity is highest; wear protective clothing (such as long-sleeved shirts and pants) when in mosquito-prone areas; and apply a mosquito repellent according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Approximately 80 percent of people who are infected with WNV will have no symptoms. The remaining 20 percent may experience a range of flu-like symptoms.

Symptoms of West Nile virus infection are often mild or flu-like and may include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, a rash, muscle weakness or swollen lymph nodes. In a small number of people, infection can result in encephalitis or meningitis which can lead to paralysis, coma and possibly death.

For more information on West Nile virus, mosquito-borne viruses and the latest WNV statistics, the public can visit the Mississippi Department of Health’s website at www.HealthyMS.com/westnile or call the West Nile virus toll-free hotline from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at 1-877-WST-NILE (1-877-978-6453).

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