Mississippi Reports Fourth West Nile Virus Death

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Today, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports the fourth death from West Nile virus (WNV) for 2008. The deceased was a Panola County resident and was a previously reported case. No new human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) are reported. The state’s total number of WNV cases for 2008 remains is 100 with four deaths. The Mississippi Board of Animal Health reports two cases of WNV in horses in Rankin County and Scott counties and one case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a horse in Jones County.

"Although West Nile virus season is winding down it’s important to remember that mosquito-borne diseases occur statewide and throughout the year," said State Epidemiologist Dr. Mary Currier.

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Since March 2008, WNV cases have been reported in Calhoun, Clarke, Forrest (4), George (2), Grenada, Harrison (2), Hinds (22), Jackson, Jasper (3), Jones (1516), Lamar (2), Lawrence, Leake (3), Leflore (5), Lincoln (4), Madison (7), Marion (3), Monroe (2), Neshoba (7), Panola, Pearl River, Rankin (3), Scott (4), Simpson, Sunflower, Washington and Wayne counties. Deaths have been reported in Forrest, Hinds and Leflore counties. Six cases of LaCrosse Encephalitis (LAC) have been reported in Adams, Amite, Harrison, Hinds, Madison and Yazoo counties with one case of Jamestown Canyon virus in Lamar County. Eight cases of EEE and four cases of WNV have been reported in horses.

The MSDH encourages all Mississippians to take the following precautions to reduce the risk of contracting WNV , JCV and other mosquito-borne illnesses: remove sources of standing water; avoid mosquito-prone areas, especially between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active; wear protective clothing (such as long-sleeved shirts and pants) when in mosquito-prone areas; and apply a DEET-based mosquito repellent according to the 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.

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