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Protect yourself against WNV risk

West Nile Virus is creeping closer to Lincoln County, with cases reported in Copiah, Hinds and Adams counties. Cases have also been reported in Forrest, Marion, Oktibbeha and Pearl River counties.

The Mississippi State Department of Health has confirmed 13 cases so far in 2018. Mississippi reported 63 West Nile cases and two deaths in 2017.

Health officials say most mosquito-borne infections happen from July to December. They urge people to reduce infection risk by using insect repellent, reducing standing water to prevent mosquito breeding and wearing long clothing.

Most people infected with the virus never show any symptoms. Some develop a flu-like disease. A few come down with encephalitis or meningitis, which can lead to paralysis, coma and even death.

MSDH officials say in a news release that people should be careful and take precautions to protect themselves from mosquitoes by using repellent containing DEET, minimize outdoor activity between dusk and dawn and eliminate standing water around residences.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a few more tips.

• When weather permits, wear long sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors.

• Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes outside.

There’s no way to avoid mosquitoes altogether, but taking a common-sense approach to prevention can reduce the number of West Nile virus cases.