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West Nile Virus Fears Not Keeping Mississippians From The State Fair

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 05 Oct 2012 04:17pm | comments

There are now more than 200 confirmed cases of West Nile virus infections in Mississippi, setting an all time record for the state. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports threat of the virus is loaming large over the Mississippi state fair.

A game announcer tries to draw players on the Midway at the 153rd Mississippi state fair in Jackson.

Central Mississippi has been hardest hit by the west nile virus infections, but that does not seem to be keeping people from the fair grounds.

"Do the best we can about it. Spray off and everything else. About all we can do"

"Oh yes. Bug spray and sunscreen everyday"

"I'm a nurse so we just watch for symptoms and do the best we can"

That's fair goers Josh Woods, Amanda Jones, and Catherine Cliburn who are among the hundreds of thousands of people who will attend the fair before its conclusion on Sunday.

Marcy Clark runs a game booth at the fair.

She is outside all day and is worried about catching the illness because the game is her only job.

"I noticed yesterday I didn't get bite by anything. So I don't think there are any mosquitoes right in this area. Maybe there are too many people here. I don't know. (Do you think you will put on mosquito repellent if it gets worse?) Yup. I have bug spray with deet because I can't get sick out here. I don't have time to be sick," Clark said.

There have been more than 200 confirmed cases and at least 5 deaths from west nile virus this year, a record for the state.

State epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs says a rise in the number birds with West Nile could be responsible for the sharp increase in human cases.

"The humans are pretty much a incidental host. The replicated cycle in the environment is not maintained through humans we are just unfortunate by standers to what is going on in other populations in the wild," Dobbs said.

Dobbs says Conditions have also been perfect for the particular type of mosquito that carries the potentially deadly disease from birds to humans.

For most people, west Nile causes flu like symptoms.

But for some, especially the very young or old, it can be deadly.

Experts recommend wearing bug repellant, wearing long sleeves and pants and staying indoors in the morning and evening when mosquitoes are most active to avoid contracting the disease.



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