Mississippi Confirms Second Human Case Of West Nile

First Posted: Jul 06, 2017 05:03 AM EDT

The Mississippi State Department of Health just confirmed its second case of West Nile virus in 2017. This case was seen in Rankin County, while the first case was reported in Forrest County.

State epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said in a statement that people throughout the state are at risk of the disease. He also advised everyone to protect themselves against mosquito bites, which are how the disease spreads. While the department reports only laboratory-confirmed cases to the public, Mississippi has seen its fair share of the disease. In 2016, the state had 43 confirmed cases of the West Nile virus, including two deaths.

U.S. News reported that most people infected with the disease would not know whether they have or have not been affected because it does not show symptoms. However, some do develop a flu-like disease, while others come down with encephalitis or meningitis, which can then lead to paralysis, coma and death.

The Department of Health also said that the confirmed cases mean that Mississippians are now entering "peak season" for the disease. Mississippi Today reported that there have also been confirmation of mosquitoes testing positive for the disease in five other counties. These include Clay, Hinds, Lowndes, Madison and Washington. However, there have not been any confirmed human cases as of late. The health department does, however, stress that everyone in Mississippi are potentially at risk for the disease -- not just the ones who live in the areas with reported confirmed cases.

To protect one's self from mosquito-borne diseases, the Department of Health advises everyone to use recommended mosquito repellent, with DEET, while outside. Families are also advised to remove all standing water from their properties. Loose, light-colored clothing that covers the arms and legs are also necessary to protect one's self from mosquitoes. Finally, avoiding areas where mosquitoes are common is also recommended in order to avoid contracting the West Nile virus.

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