West Nile still rising in state

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Sept. 6, 2002
The number of West Nile cases reported in humans rose to
111 in Mississippi this week, including one person in Newton County.
Other human cases were diagnosed earlier this summer in Clarke and Jasper counties.
On Thursday, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the Mosquito Abatement for Safety and Health Act, which will be forwarded to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The act, co-sponsored by 3rd District U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, would provide grants for mosquito control programs.
Three deaths in Mississippi have been attributed to West Nile virus.
Most of the people infected have the more severe forms of the disease, encephalitis or encephalopathy, but a few have had the milder West Nile fever.
Six dead birds submitted for testing from Lauderdale County also had the mosquito-borne virus.
Mississippi Department of Health officials are urging people to take personal protection measures seriously especially those at high risk of severe illness, the elderly and people with weak immune systems.
With football season in full swing, Morrison said spectators need to take the appropriate steps to fight off mosquitoes.
She also said coaches have been advised not to hold football practice after dusk.
All cities and counties have been given printed materials, provided by the Mississippi Department of Health, to be distributed to residents. It tells people how to protect themselves from infected mosquitoes that transmit the disease. Television and radio stations are running public service announcements on protective measures and billboards are going up daily statewide as part of the department's "Fight the Bite" campaign.
WEST NILE TOTALS
The Mississippi Department of Health has identified the following West Nile virus cases since July 19:
212 birds (six in Lauderdale County)
128 horses
111 humans (in 35 counties)
Six mosquito pools.

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