JACKSON, Miss. – The first confirmed human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) was reported in Madison County this April, kicking off an early WNV season in the state. The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reminds all Mississippians to be vigilant about protecting themselves from West Nile virus now that the weather is warmer and more time is being spent enjoying the outdoors.
“Last year was a record-breaking season for West Nile, and while we have no way of predicting how this season will be, we can protect ourselves by taking the recommended precautions,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs.
Appropriate precautions that can be taken to reduce the risk of contracting WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses year-round include: removing sources of standing water, especially after rainfall; wearing protective clothing (such as long-sleeved shirts and pants) during peak times from dusk until dawn in mosquito-prone areas, and using a recommended mosquito repellent according to manufacturer’s directions.
Symptoms of WNV infection are often mild and may include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, a rash, muscle weakness or swollen lymph nodes. In a small number of cases, infection can result in encephalitis or meningitis, which can lead to paralysis, coma and possibly death.
For more information on WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses, a checklist to reduce the mosquito population in and around homes, and recommended mosquito repellents, visit the MSDH website at www.HealthyMS.com/westnile.
Follow MSDH by e-mail and social media at HealthyMS.com/connect.