Mississippi Reports Additional West Nile Virus Human Case

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Today the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports one new human case of West Nile virus (WNV) for 2008, bringing the state's total number of WNV cases to eight. The new case is in Jones County. The MSDH reports both confirmed and probable cases to the public.

Since March 2008, WNV cases have been reported in Hinds, Lincoln, Forrest, Jones (3) and Madison (2) counties. One case of LaCrosse encephalitis (LAC) in Yazoo County has been reported.

According to State Medical Entomologist Dr. Jerome Goddard, "Mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus enter their peak reproduction season at the same time most of us are spending more time outdoors," he said. "To avoid mosquito bites take steps to protect yourself personally with the appropriate clothing and repellents and remove mosquito breeding grounds around your home."

The MSDH conducts statewide mosquito testing with its most intensive surveillance during the peak WNV mosquito reproduction months of July, August and September.

MSDH encourages Mississippians to take the following simple precautions to reduce their risk of contracting West Nile virus, LaCrosse encephalitis, and other mosquito-borne illnesses:

* Remove sources of standing water

* Avoid mosquito-prone areas, especially between dusk and dawn when mosquito activity is highest

* Wear protective clothing (such as long-sleeved shirts and pants) when in mosquito-prone areas

* Apply a DEET-based mosquito repellent according to the manufacturer's instructions

To protect your your home:

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* Drain or dump any source of standing water around the home

* Dispose of containers and debris which can collect or hold water

* Remove all leaf debris

* Dispose of used tires

* Clean rain gutters and swimming pools

* Change the water in bird baths weekly

* Use over-the-counter larvaciding products that can be purchased at home improvement stores

* Eliminate pools of standing, stagnant water, especially with organic debris

* Repair damaged or torn window and door screens that stay open

* Regularly clean outdoor pet food and water dishes; remove any not being used

* Close garbage can lids and be sure water does not collect in the bottom of the cans

* Check around construction sites to ensure that proper backfilling and grading prevent drainage problems

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