West Nile Spreads As Mississippi Reports 4th Human Case

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The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reported the fourth human case of West Nile virus (WNV) for 2008. The new case of West Nile disease is in Madison County. Previously reported cases were in Lincoln, Forrest and Madison counties. The MSDH reports both confirmed and probable cases to the public.

MSDH conducts statewide mosquito testing with its most intensive surveillance during peak mosquito reproduction time, which is usually July, August and September.

According to State Epidemiologist Dr. Mary Currier, WNV is most prevalent in mid- to late summer but can occur throughout the year.

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"As Mississippi families enjoy outdoor activities this summer, especially those activities that occur at dusk, it is important that everyone take steps to protect themselves both personally and environmentally," she said.

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.

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

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