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Food & Health : Biological Agents Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

West Nile kills 3 in Mississippi
By Sue Mueller
Sep 18, 2007 - 10:50:34 AM

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The Mississippi State Department of Health on September 17 announced 17 new human cases of mosquito-borne West Nile virus including two new deaths from the virus for the past week.

One death from West Nile virus was reported from Rankin County and another from Lamar.  17 new human cases were reported from counties including Harrison, Hinds, Jackson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Madison (6), Neshoba, Oktibbeha, Pearl River, Rankin (2), and Yazoo.
So far this year, 76 people in Mississippi have been diagnosed with West Nile and three have died from the implications by the viral infections.

Overall, West Nile virus has infected fewer people this year than last year. By the end of August this year, 41 people had been diagnosed compared to 86 for the same period of last year.  As of September 17, the state recorded 66 human cases compared to 138 for last year.

People get West Nile virus mostly through a mosquito bite of an infected mosquito.  The overwhelming majority of people do not show any symptoms after they get infected and some people show only minor or mild symptoms, which do not pose any serious health or life threat.

In rare cases, some people, particularly those aged 50 or older and those who have compromised immune systems, may develop life-threatening conditions after they get infected with the mosquito-borne West Nile virus.

The Mississippi State health officials offer the following suggestions as to how to prevent West Nile virus infection by preventing mosquito bites.

Protecting Yourself

Avoid places and times when mosquitoes bite. Evenings and mornings have the most mosquito activity.
Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time, or when mosquitoes are most active. Clothing should be light colored and made of tightly woven materials to keep mosquitoes away from the skin. Pants legs should be tucked into shoes or socks, and collars should be buttoned. 
Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure.
Use an insect repellent such as DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide), or other recommended ingredients. More information on DEET 

Protecting Your Family

Although many mosquitoes bite at dusk or at night, some bite during the day. All mosquitoes will bite if you enter an area where they are resting, such as high grass or heavy underbrush. While it is not necessary to limit outdoor activity (unless there is evidence of mosquito-borne disease in the area), you can and should reduce your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.

You can protect your family from biting mosquitoes by reducing the amount of standing water available for mosquito breeding in or near your property:

 Repair failed septic systems.
 Keep grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed.
 Dispose of old tires, cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or other unused containers that can hold water. 
 Change the water at least once per week in bird baths, wading pools and other water containers on your property.
 Cover trash containers to keep out rainwater. 
 Clean clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves tend to plug up the drains. 
 Repair leaky water pipes and outside faucets.
 Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with predatory fish. 
 Clean and chlorinate swimming pools even if they are not being used. 
 Keep drains, ditches, and culverts free of grass clippings, weeds, and trash so water will drain properly.

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