Brookhaven has ‘ideal mosquito season,’ Lincoln County has 1 WNV human case

Published 9:30 am Thursday, October 26, 2023

Thirty-three human cases of West Nile Virus have been reported so far in Mississippi in 2023, with one case in Lincoln County. But the local mosquito control expert says the situation has been near ideal.

The Mississippi Department of Health identified the case from a positive laboratory test of a blood donor. Infected blood donors are identified through routine screening to ensure the safety of transfusion products. WNV-positive donors who are symptomatic are included in the WNV human case count.

No infected mosquitoes were found in Brookhaven traps.

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“This is the first time in four years that we have not had any positive traps in Brookhaven,” said Scott Williams of Vector Mosquito Control, the City of Brookhaven’s contracted sprayer. “We have had nothing positive until right here, at the very end of the season, until this human case.”

West Nile Virus is transmitted primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito, and the majority of mosquitoes do not transmit disease. People cannot become infected through ordinary contact with an infected bird, horse or human. People who are concerned about protecting themselves against mosquitoes have a couple of good options, Williams said.

“The mosquito repellent that has the DEET in it is extremely effective against the West Nile mosquito,” he said. “AVON Skin So Soft is also extremely effective. It also works very well against gnats and any other ‘creepy-crawlies.’”

Human cases were also reported in the following counties: Hinds, 6; Madison, 4; Rankin, 4; Panola, 3; Clarke, 2; Jackson, 2; Prentiss, 2; Sunflower, 2; and one each in Calhoun, Forrest, Grenada, Humphreys, Lamar, Leflore, and Pike counties.

No West Nile deaths have been recorded in Mississippi since 2017, when there were two. Two were also recorded in 2016, and one in 2015.

Two horses have tested positive for WNV, one each in Jackson and Rankin counties.

Positive mosquito samples were also taken from traps in seven counties — Madison, 12; Washington, 7; Harrison, 2; Rankin, 2; Hinds, 1; Jackson, 1; and Sunflower, 1.

Four cases were identified from human blood donors who had no symptoms of WNV, and were not included in the human cases: two in DeSoto, one in Copiah, and one in Tallahatchie.

Williams said spraying will take place as often now, but Vector will still be available. Weather permitting, the city will be sprayed Monday night “pretty heavily,” prior to Halloween Tuesday activities, he said.

“Once temps get down in the 50s at night, numbers of mosquitoes will drop drastically, and by federal law we can’t spray below 50 degrees,” said Williams. “We’re here to control the mosquito population, not eradicate them. That is not going to happen. But all of my traps across Mississippi are at a record low this year due to the extreme drought.”

Anyone who thinks their area of the city needs another treating is encouraged to call the City’s hotline at 601-835-8025. Williams is also available to talk with anyone who has further concerns. He can be reached at 601-669-8280.

Overall, Williams is grateful for the low numbers of mosquitoes of any kind.

“If there’s any such thing as the ideal mosquito season, this has been it,” he said. “We’ve been blessed this year.”