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Lauderdale County man with West Nile dies

By By Terry R. Cassreino / assistant managing editor
Aug. 20, 2003
A Lauderdale County man with West Nile virus has died, but a state health department epidemiologist said today she doesn't know if his death was related to the mosquito-born illness.
Officials with the Mississippi State Department of Health confirmed Tuesday through results from blood work that an unidentified 39-year-old Lauderdale County man contracted the disease.
The man was the first confirmed West Nile case this year in Lauderdale County. Statewide, Mississippi has had 16 West Nile cases so far this year; this time last year, the state had 64 human cases and three deaths.
Slavinski said she knew no other details about the Lauderdale County case, including when and where the man died. She also didn't know if he died before the health department received test results on Tuesday.
Slavinski said that results from blood work on patients usually are available four to five days after the samples are taken.
Mosquito-borne viruses are identified every year in Mississippi. The elderly are among those who suffer the greatest risk for more severe illness from mosquito-borne viruses.
Symptoms of West Nile virus are similar to the flu.
They may include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, a rash, muscle weakness and swollen lymph nodes. In some people, West Nile virus can lead to encephalitis or meningitis two potentially deadly diseases.
Mary Currier, state epidemiologist, said Mississippi continues to publicize information about the virus.