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Mississippi health officials report second West Nile death of 2013

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THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE MISSISSIPPI STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH:

Today the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports the second West Nile virus (WNV) death for 2013, as well as five new human cases. The death occurred in Forrest County and was a previously reported case.  The new human cases were reported in Adams, Forrest, Lamar, Pike and Rankin counties, bringing the state total for 2013 to 35 human cases, including two deaths.

So far this year, cases have been reported in Adams, Bolivar, Forrest (4), Hinds (10), Jones (2), Lamar (4), Leflore (2), Lincoln, Lowndes, Madison (2), Marion, Pike, Rankin (4) and Wayne counties.  The MSDH only reports laboratory-confirmed cases to the public.

In 2012, Mississippi had 247 WNV cases and five deaths.

Mississippians should take appropriate precautions to reduce the risk of contracting WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses year-round: 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.

For more information on WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses, a checklist to reduce the mosquito population in and around homes, and recommended mosquito repellents, visit the MSDH website at www.HealthyMS.com/westnile or call the WNV toll-free hotline from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 1-877-WST-NILE

(1-877-978-6453).

Follow MSDH by e-mail and social media at HealthyMS.com/connect.