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West Nile Cases Rising in Mississippi

By Daniel Cherry | Published 03 Aug 2012 06:34pm | comments
Cases of West Nile Virus are on the rise in Mississippi and experts say they only expect the problem to get worse in the coming months. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports...
 
The Mississippi Department of Health confirmed 14 new cases of West Nile Virus last week. That brings the total number of cases of the mosquito carried illness this year up to 33 including one death. Steve Pavolvich studies mosquito activity for Mosquito Control Services. He says this year has been more active than most.
 
"We're seeing a lot of activity of West Nile throughout the Gulf South. We're actually seeing positive samples in the mosquito population as well, some places actually monitor bird blood and we're seeing activity in the bird blood."
 
The mild winter, the early Spring, and rainfall are all contributing to the busy year. Dr. Paul Byers, acting State Epidemiologist with the Mississippi Department of Health, says most most who contract the virus will only show signs of headaches and fatigue, but it can be worse for others.
 
"For even a smaller number of those people, they can have a very severe disease. Encephalitis, Meningitis, some long-term complications, so it can be severe in some people."
 
So far the majority of the cases have shown up in central and South Mississippi, but Dr. Byers warns residents not to let their guard down anywhere.
 
"So just because we're not saying that there are cases in your particular county or area that doesn't mean that there are not mosquitos that may carry the virus in your area and you need to take precautions whether we're saying that there's cases in your county or not."
 
There were 52 cases of West Nile Virus and five deaths reported in Mississippi last year.

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