MS Department of Health reports first West Nile Virus death of 2017

(James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP, File)

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reported the state’s first West Nile Virus (WNV) death of 2017 on Monday.

We’re told a person from Grenada County died from the virus.

“This sadly serves as a reminder that the threat of West Nile virus should be taken very seriously,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “While many people may be infected with West Nile and not show symptoms, in a small number of cases, the infection can cause very serious complications, even death.”

There are nine new cases of WNV, which brings the state’s total number of cases to 19 for 2017.

Other cases have been reported in Covington, Forrest (4), Grenada, Hinds (4), Humphreys, Jones, Leflore, Lincoln, Madison, Perry, Rankin (2), and Scott counties.

Symptoms of WNV are often mild, according to MSDH. They include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, a rash, muscle weakness or swollen lymph nodes.

Peak season for WNV in Mississippi is July through September. Cases can occur at any point during the year, according to MSDH.

Here are some things you can do to protect yourself from the mosquito bite:

  • Use a mosquito repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient such as 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.

For more information, visit the MSDH website by clicking here.

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