JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Mississippi State Department to Health reported two new human cases of the West Nile virus Tuesday, bringing the state total to nine this year.
The two new cases were reported in Jefferson and Jones counties.
So far this year, human cases of West Nile have been reported in Copiah, Forrest (2), Hinds, Jefferson, Jones, Lamar, Leake and Smith counties.
Last year, Mississippi had 50 cases of the West Nile virus and no deaths.
According to MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers, most cases of West Nile occur from July through September in Mississippi.
“We have not seen a large number of cases of West Nile so far this year, but we’re still in the midst of the usual peak season in Mississippi,” said Dr. Byers. “It is still important to protect yourself. While most infected people recover without any long-term problems, some develop a more severe infection that can lead to complications and even death – especially in those over 50 years of age.”
Symptoms of the West Nile virus 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.
The MSDH suggests the following precautions to protect yourself and your family from mosquito-borne illnesses:
· 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, long clothing to cover the arms and legs when outdoors.
· Avoid areas where mosquitoes are prevalent.