No cases in Warren County, but Mississippi prone to West Nile Virus

Published 7:59 pm Thursday, August 23, 2018

More cases of the West Nile Virus seem to be spreading across Mississippi, which according to a recent Associated Press story, is one of the more prone areas to contract the potentially deadly disease.

As of Aug. 21, Louisiana had 18 cases of West Nile encephalitis or meningitis out of a national total of 133, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday on its website. Mississippi had 15 such “neuroinvasive” cases, Texas 14 and California 12.

The CDC reported eight deaths so far this year: two in South Dakota and one each in Louisiana, Iowa, Ohio, Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina.

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Mississippi reported 63 West Nile cases and two deaths in 2017.

Fortunately, Warren County has not had a reported case of West Nile Virus this year, but it seems the disease has been creeping closer to our borders.

Cases have been reported in both Hinds and Adams counties

Dr. Paul Byers, Mississippi’s state epidemiologist, said Mississippi is “always” among the states with the highest rates for West Nile virus.

“Regardless of whether we report the disease in your county … we want everybody to take those appropriate precautions,” Byers said.

Reports of infections of the brain and nervous system are more reliable indicators of West Nile’s seriousness than statistics for flu-like West Nile fever or symptomless infections found most often when people donate blood, Byers said.

Living in Mississippi, it’s nearly impossible to avoid mosquitoes altogether, but state health officials urge people to reduce the infection risk by using insect repellent, reducing standing water to prevent mosquito breeding and wearing long clothing when outdoors.