West Nile death in Bolivar County untrue
by Courtney Warren
Aug 27, 2014 | 2518 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
While it was rumored that a death due to West Nile Virus had occurred in Bolivar County, the Mississippi State Department of Health confirms it was not true.

Tuesday the MSDH sent out a press release that said, "The Mississippi State Department of Health confirms the death of a Madison County resident from West Nile Virus, the second Mississippi death from WNV in 2014. New human cases were also reported in Adams, Bolivar, Covington, Forrest, and Rankin counties."

"There have been 15 cases of West Nile, one of which is in Bolivar County, but by the time we found out about it they were well. A doctor draws samples, it's sent to Jackson, and then sent to the CDC and it can take up to a week. We are checking out where the person lives to see more about the mosquito breeding," said Dr. Alfio Rausa, district health officer of the Mississippi State Department of Health.

So far this year, a total of 15 human West Nile cases have been reported in the following counties: Adams (2), Bolivar (1), Covington (1), Forrest (1), Hinds (2), Madison (1), Newton (1), Rankin (4), Yazoo (1), and Wilkinson (1) counties.

State Deputy Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said in a previous interview, "We are about to enter our most active months for the West Nile Virus infection. It is really important for Mississippi residents to be taking the necessary precautions against mosquito bites now.

"The way that this infection works is that a mosquito has to become infected by biting an infected person. Once that mosquito becomes infected, they could potentially bite someone who is not infected and then transmit the infection to them, but the West Nile Virus is transmitted differently. We know for sure that there are mosquitos in Mississippi that carry the West Nile Virus," said Byers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the West Nile Virus is most commonly transmitted to humans by mosquitoes.

Individuals can reduce their risk of being infected with WNV by using insect repellent and wearing protective clothing to prevent mosquito bites.

There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent WNV infection.

Fortunately, most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms.

Less than one percent of infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurologic illness.

"People need to be looking around their homes for mosquito breeding areas. The mosquito that can transmit West Nile breeds in very small areas of standing water. This could be in a backed up gutter, flower pots old tires and many other places," Byers added.

"The best type of mosquito repellent to buy is one that contains DEET. The mosquito that transmits West Nile is the one that is active during the coolers times of the day. This is usually during evening hours, over night and in the early morning hours," continued Byers.

He also said if individuals are traveling to places where they know that local transmission of the West Nile virus is ongoing, they should take protect themselves.

Individuals should also avoid mosquito exposure and bites.

"Be sure to cover up exposed areas by wearing long sleeve shirts and long pants.

I also advise individuals to use appropriate mosquito repellant, remain indoors in an air conditioned areas because mosquitos are less likely to come in good, secure, cool structures," said Byers.

To fight the good fight, Advanced Mosquito Control in Cleveland recently teamed up with Clarke, a global environmental products and services company, to test new mosquito products.

Derek Drews, Clarke field biologist, and Danny Meyers, Clarke control consultant, worked alongside Bern Prewitt and Bill Alexander to test a new product that might be used to fight the mosquito population in the Delta.

"With an integrated mosquito management plan a good practice is rotation of products so the mosquitoes don’t develop any sort of resistance to any products. We switch active ingredients out on it and give them something new so the purpose of this is, we've caught some of your local mosquitoes here and we're going to test these mosquitoes with the new product that hasn't been used in this area.

“We like to see upwards of 90 percent mortality," said Drews.

"We're going to start using it tonight. We got a big bulk load of it in," said Alexander.