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First 2012 West Nile Cases Reported in Mississippi

By Daniel Cherry | Published 03 Jul 2012 06:55pm | comments
State health officials have confirmed Mississippi's first two cases of West Nile Virus for the year. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how residents can take a few simple steps to cut down on their chances of contracting the deadly virus.
 
Mosquitoes aren't just a nuisance, they're a serious health concern in Mississippi. The summer is heating up, and the peak season for West Nile Virus is here. Bill Thompson is technician who installs mosquito control systems.
 
"Because of the landscaping they have, mosquitoes are going to nest in the straw, they're going to nest on the bottom sides of the leaves..."
 
Thompson says people tend to focus on removing puddles of standing water from their yards, but he recommends going a few steps further. Old tires and flowerpots are big culprits, but many residents overlook clogged gutters, which can be a perfect breeding ground for the biting bugs. Thompson thinks the mosquito problem this summer might only get worse.
 
"We're seeing a lot of insects right now in general because of the mild winter. We're going to see more insects in general and that also includes mosquitoes."
 
The first two cases this year have been recorded in Lauderdale and Hancock counties. Dr. Paul Byers is acting State Epidemiologist with the Mississippi Department of Health. 
 
"You know that the mosquitoes that transmit West Nile Virus are more active and tend to bite more in the cooler evening and early morning hours. And that's when we see most of the activity."
 
Byers says anyone who has to be outdoors during those times should dress appropriately and wear plenty of repellant. Mississippi had 52 cases of West Nile last year...5 of those resulted in death.

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