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West Nile case confirmed in Copiah County

The Mississippi Department of Health on Monday confirmed seven new cases of West Nile virus, including one in Copiah County.

It’s as close to home as West Nile has reached yet in 2015, with a total of 35 laboratory-confirmed cases in Hinds (9), Rankin (7), Madison (5), Forrest (2), Simpson (2), Yazoo (2), Adams, Attala, Copiah, Covington, Lauderdale, Marions, Montgomery and Washington counties. In 2014, there were 43 cases of the mosquito-borne virus.

It’s frustrating that “one new case in Copiah County is the only information available. Copiah County is almost 780 square miles. That’s 25 percent larger than Lincoln County. Was the new case near Wesson or near Crystal Springs? MDH has to protect patient information, of course, but it would be nice to have a little more information to go on.

Regardless, the primary time for West Nile infection is August and September, and the number of new cases will likely drop off as the weather turns cooler and mosquitoes go wherever it is that mosquitoes go (which hopefully is Hell). In the meantime, be on the lookout for these West Nile symptoms:

  • fever
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • rash
  • muscle weakness or swollen lymph nodes

MDH reports that a small number of cases can lead to encephalitis or meningitis, and those are no good. Protect yourself when outdoors by using DEET; removing standing water around your home; wearing loose, light-colored clothing to cover your arms and legs and avoiding areas where mosquitoes are prevalent (however that works).

MDH has more info on West Nile virus on their website at www.HealthyMS.com/westnile.

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