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Officials identify more West Nile cases

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Aug. 23, 2002
A dozen more people have been diagnosed with West Nile Virus in Mississippi.
The Mississippi Department of Health reported a total of 76 human cases in 26 counties on Thursday including the first cases found in Clay, Lafayette and Simpson counties.
Hinds County, the hardest hit county, has had 25 human cases including one death. The mosquito-borne disease also has been found there in 14 dead birds, six horses and two mosquito pools.
A Pike County resident and a Madison County resident also have died from West Nile Virus. The Public Health Laboratory has processed about 600 human specimens.
The state Department of Health also has identified 152 birds, 74 horses and five mosquito pools with West Nile Virus in the state.
The updated statistics are the latest developments in a summer-long, West Nile scare. Most cases in Mississippi are West Nile encephalitis, a potentially deadly inflammation of the brain.
While no human cases have been reported in Lauderdale County, health officials have said they did find the disease in a dead bird that was discovered in the county.
Debra Lloyd, who lives off of 23rd Avenue in Meridian, said she and her family are concerned about the disease.
She said she found a dead crow in her front yard Aug. 13. She said the bird was submitted to the state Department of Health in Jackson for tests to determine if it had the West Nile virus.
When health officials announced late last week the virus had been found in a dead bird from Lauderdale County, no one said if the bird was Lloyd's crow or a blue jay that also had been sent for testing.
Crows and blue jays are tested for the virus because those species of birds are the most susceptible to the disease.
The state Department of Health has a toll-free West Nile Hotline for anyone with questions about the disease. The number, (877) 978-6453, operates from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.