WJTV News Channel 12 - First MS West Nile Virus Case Confirmed for 2013

First MS West Nile Virus Case Confirmed for 2013

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The West Nile Virus is again active in Mississippi.

On Monday doctors with the State Department of Health confirmed their first case of 2013.

Public Health officials say they are hoping it will not be a repeat of last year when five people died from the virus. More than 250 others were diagnosed, according to state statistics.

This year's first patient to catch the West Nile Virus is from Madison county.

That's where Kris Wilkinson works to take care of what spreads it - mosquitos - by using sprays for the air and tablets for ponds. Wilkinson is contracted through the county.

"The little tablets kill the eggs and larvae in the water before they hatch. The spray just takes care of them in the air," Wilkinson said.

This year's West Nile Virus case is considered early but it is not the earliest ever. (there was once a case recorded in January)

A better indicator of what's to come is the weather outlook: warmer and wetter means more risk, State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs said.

"This mosquito get very active and breeds in water that's full of dense organic material - water that's been sitting around and evaporates a little bit and gets kind of grungy. It's a perfect breeding site for these kinds of mosquitos," Dobbs said.

Dobbs says this first patient showed symptoms of a fever - not the more serious brain swelling.

"It's hard to know what it means for sure going forward. We've had early cases before and then had a very small minimal season so it's hard to predict but still it's a reminder that it's circulating and we need to do what we can to prevent getting West Nile," Dobbs said.

Wilkinson says he wants to make a difference by covering about 80 miles everyday spraying about four hours.

"I hope what I do saves somebody's life," Wilkinson said.

Last year there were 24 confirmed West Nile Case in Hinds County, 25 in Madison County, and 44 in Rankin County.

A few things that you can do at home to stop breeding mosquitos: tip over at containers or get rid of any garbage that might collect water.

There a lot more tips on a state sponsored web site - HealthyMS.com

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