West Nile case reported in Clay County

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DTL Staff
Staff Writer

The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) on Thursday reported two new human cases of West Nile virus, one being in Clay County.

The new diagnosis brings the state total to 15 this year. The other case was reported in Calhoun County.

So far this year, human cases have been reported in Calhoun, Clay, Copiah, Forrest (four), Hinds (two), Jefferson, Jones, Lamar, Leake, Rankin, and Smith counties.

In 2018, the MDSP reported that Mississippi had 50 WNV cases and no deaths.

MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said this serves as a reminder that West Nile cases are seen year-round in Mississippi.

“While we are out of peak season, the threat is still there,” Byers said. “It’s important to protect yourself.”

Byers said 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 West Nile virus 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.

The MSDH suggests the following precautions to protect 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 homes and yard to prevent mosquito breeding.

• Wear loose, long clothing to cover the arms and legs when outdoors.

• Avoid areas where mosquitoes are prevalent.