West Nile found in county

Published 11:16 pm Wednesday, September 26, 2007

NATCHEZ — A new case of West Nile virus in a human was found in Adams County last week, and health officials are asking residents to take steps to reduce the chances of it happening again.

Last week’s case is the second confirmed case in Adams County this year. There have been 85 confirmed cases statewide in 2007.

The disease, which can cause flu-like symptoms and result in meningitis or encephalitis, is carried in Mississippi by the southern house mosquito, Interim State Epidemiologist Mary Currier said.

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Residents should try to decrease the mosquito population and use insect repellant when they’re outside near dusk and dawn, she said.

“(The southern house mosquito) breeds in standing water with organic material in it, like a puddle in a yard or water in a ditch with old leaves and weeds,” Currier said. “If people have old tires, anything that holds water, they should turn those things over.”

Peak mosquito season in the state is August, but the Mississippi State Department of Health has had diagnosed cases reported as late as January, she said.

Currier said she could not give specific information about cases, but that only roughly 20 percent of people show symptoms. Not everyone who gets sick goes to the physician or reports it, she said.

“For every case reported, there are a lot more people out there that are infected,” she said.

It’s important for people who think they might have the mosquito-borne illness to see a physician, she said.

Eight other new cases were also reported last week, found in Forrest, Jones, Lamar, Lauderdale, Leake, Madison, Warren and Wayne counties.

The 85 reported West Nile virus cases this year statewide is down from last year’s 180.

“(The) 85 cases is nothing to sneeze at,” Currier said. “The most important thing is to prevent getting the virus.”

In Adams County, residents can pick up larvicide that will kill mosquito larvae at the county road department. For more information, call 601-445-7935.