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Let’s help state ‘Fight the Bite!’

The West Nile Virus is making Mississippians uneasy from one endof the state to the other.

Just last Friday, 15 new human cases of the infection wereannounced by state health officials. Thirty-four total cases werereported last week, and 91 have been recorded in Mississippi sinceJuly 19. Three cases have been reported in Lincoln County. So far,three deaths have been blamed on the virus in residents from Hinds,Madison and Pike counties.

It was also announced Friday that the federal government hasdenied the state’s request for emergency funds to combat thevirus.

“It’s disappointing to have this request turned down, but wewill exhaust every possible source of financial support for ourbattle against the West Nile virus,” Gov. Ronnie Musgrove said.”This decision will, in no way, cause us to let up in our effortsto protect the health of all Mississippians.”

Officials with the State Department of Health are urgingMississippians to “Fight the Bite!” and help protect themselvesfrom the West Nile Virus. Here’s what you can do:

* Avoid mosquitoes whenever possible by staying indoors –especially between dusk and dawn.

* Use mosquito repellent with DEET (10 to 30 percent for adultsand lower concentrates of 10 percent or less for children). Be sureto follow label directions.

* Wear long-sleeved, long-legged clothing with socks and shoesoutdoors when practical.

* Reduce the breeding source (areas of standing water) ofmosquitoes, which is the most effective and economical methodtoward long-term mosquito control. Areas to keep a close watch oninclude roof gutters, pet water dishes, old tires, children’sunused or poorly maintained swimming pools and standing water inlow grassy areas.

Those with questions about the virus can also call theDepartment of Health’s West Nile Hotline at 1-877-978-6453.

Let’s “Fight the Bite!” and help control this deadly virus.