State’s first West Nile Virus death reported in Montgomery County

July 8, 2013 in Health, News, Statewide News, Top Stories

From The Mississippi Link Newswire

JACKSON – The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports the first West Nile virus death for 2013, along with two new human cases. The death was in Montgomery County – in Duck Hill – and the new reported cases are in Forrest and Wayne counties.

Tuesday’s report brings the state total for 2013 to six cases, including one death. This time last year there were no reported deaths from WNV in Mississippi.

So far this year, cases have been reported in Madison, Forrest (2), Wayne, Lowndes and Montgomery counties. The MSDH only reports laboratory-confirmed cases to the public.

In 2012, Mississippi had a record number of human WNV cases. Last year, the state reported 247 WNV cases and five deaths.

“It‘s important to remember that we are now in peak West Nile season, which includes the months of July, August and September,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs. “This is when we can expect to see the bulk of our cases throughout the state. It is important to be especially mindful of taking proper protective measures now, but West Nile virus can be contracted year-round.”

Mississippians should take appropriate precautions to reduce the risk of contracting WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses: remove sources of standing water, especially after rainfall; and if you will be in mosquito-prone areas, wear protective clothing (such as long-sleeved shirts and pants) during peak times from dusk until dawn, and use 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.