Third West Nile case confirmed here

Published 5:00 am Friday, August 23, 2002

Twelve new cases of West Nile virus in humans — includinganother in Lincoln County — were announced by the MississippiState Department of Health Thursday, bringing the total of humancases in the state to 76, including three deaths.

Human cases were reported for the first time in Clay, Lafayetteand Simpson counties. The other nine new cases are from Lincoln(1), Hinds (2), Madison (2), Scott (2), Pike (1) and Rankin (1)counties.

Lincoln County has three human cases, and Copiah County has one.Lawrence County has a dead bird that tested positive for West Nileand Franklin County has confirmed one horse case. Neither Lawrencenor Franklin County have a human case, however.

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The Public Health Laboratory has tested more than 600 people toconfirm the 76 total cases.

Hinds County has reported the highest number of infections with25 human, 14 dead bird and six horse cases. They also have twomosquito pools. A “pool” is determined by testing a batch of deadmosquitoes for the virus. A positive result means at least one ofthe mosquitoes carried the virus.

Pike County has eight human cases. Forrest, Rankin and Scottcounties have five human cases each.

Pike County has the highest case rate in the state with 15.4 per100,000 people. That rate is also higher than any Louisiana parishas of Aug. 9, which could give it the highest concentration ofcases per population size in the nation this year.

Combined with other counties, Mississippi’s case rate is morethan three times that of New York in 1999, which was recognized asthe largest outbreak of West Nile until this year. New Yorkreported 62 cases and seven deaths for a case rate of .65 per100,000.

The newest announcement indicates the virus has spread to 66 ofMississippi’s 82 counties.

The MSDH announced Wednesday that six counties that did notpreviously have a confirmed case reported one. Alcorn, Lafayette,Lowndes, Noxubee, Tate and Walthall counties are now considered tohave a positive case. The MSDH did not specify whether the case wasin a bird or horse in these counties.

Thursday’s announcement puts the new total of West Nile cases at76 humans in 26 counties,152 dead birds, 74 horses and fivemosquito pools.