from staff reports
The Mississippi State Department of Health has now reported 12 new cases of West Nile Virus in people. That's a total of 54 human cases in the state, one resulting in death.
While none of the most recent cases have been reported in the Meridian/Lauderdale County area, a total of three human cases have been reported in Clarke County, and five cases in Neshoba County since March.
The latest cases of the disease were reported in George, Hinds (4), Jones, Lincoln, Pearl River, Scott (2), Simpson and Sunflower counties. The MSDH reports both confirmed and probable cases to the public.
West Nile infection can cause encephalitis or meningitis in a small number of people. Those illnesses can lead to paralysis, coma and possibly death.
July, August and September are the peak months for mosquito reproduction. The best way to reduce the risk of contracting West Nile Virus is to remove sources of standing water, to avoid mosquito-prone areas especially between dusk and dawn, wear protective clothing such as long sleeves and long pants, and to use DEET-based mosquito repellent.
For more information on West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses, call the health department at 1-877-WST-NILE or visit the Web site at www.healthyms.com.