Today the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports the state’s first human case of West Nile virus (WNV) for 2014. The reported case is in Hinds County. The MSDH only reports laboratory-confirmed cases to the public. In 2013, Mississippi had 45 WNV cases and five deaths.
“From time to time, we do see cases reported this early in Mississippi. While it does seem surprising given all the winter weather we’ve had this season, it serves as a good reminder that WNV can occur year-round, even if we are not in the peak summer months of July, August, and September,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs.
“Also, the timeframe of when the first case is reported has no effect on the type of WNV activity we’ll see in a particular season. There really is no way to predict how active the season will be,” said Dobbs.
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.