Reported cases of the West Nile Virus have been steadily climbing to nearly 6 times that of last year's numbers.

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West Nile Cases Continue to Climb in Mississippi

By Daniel Cherry | Published 04 Oct 2011 06:10pm | comments

Mississippi has seen a large spike this year in cases of West Nile Virus compared to last year. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how officials and health care providers are working to slow down the spread.

46 people have been diagnosed with West Nile Virus this year in Mississippi...that's much higher than last year's total of 8.

Dan Smith knows what they're feeling. A few years ago he caught the virus.

"I went to my doctor three times, and he gave me a bunch of antibiotics to start with. Finally he said, 'Look. I don't know what's wrong with you.' My temperature during this time was running 104-106 (degrees)."

Smith says he didn't recover from the virus for at least 8 months, and he says he still feels the effects. Dr. Skip Nolan is an Infectious Disease Specialist with the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He says Smith's case is rare...many people never realize they're carrying the virus.

"A very small percentage of cases actually come to real medical attention. This tends to be, not always, but usually in older individuals. Older than probably the age of 65."

Nolan says some will experience fatigue and often a rash will appear, but most people will recover relatively quickly. Dennis Keveryn is the City Administrator for Laurel located in Jones County where they've seen 6 cases so far and one death. Mosquitoes carry the virus, and Keveryn says they've been spraying for the insects at least twice a week to keep the population under control.

"Before we started spraying, and I think that might have been in April, you couldn't go outside in Laurel. Since we started spraying we've really had a reduction. We don't have a mosquito problem that I know of, but of course it only takes one with West Nile."

Keveryn says if the temperature keeps dropping they expect less of a threat by mid October. If not, they might continue spraying into November.




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