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West Nile Found in Mississippi, First Case this Year

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West Nile Found in Mississippi, First Case this Year
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The State Department of Health is warning Mississippians to avoid exposure to mosquitoes. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports on what experts say is the beginning of West Nile season.

Cheney Spence says almost six years ago he was diagnosed with West Nile Virus. He was in and out of consciousness for weeks. The 55-year-old resident of Brandon says some of those days he can't remember and other days he'll never forget.

"My eyes had become sensitive to light. It was almost like I had a migraine where any noise or sound was difficult to deal with. I went to work that day. I told my boss, if he needed me, I would be in my office with the door closed with the lights out laying on the floor," said Spence.

The Mississippi State Department of Health has confirmed this year's first case of West Nile virus in Hinds County.

Dr. Paul Byers is the state epidemiologist.

"This type of mosquito is a southern house mosquito. It can breed and lay eggs in any very small collection of water. It's important to look around at your property and identify those places where mosquitoes can breed and dump them out," said Byers.

Byers suggests avoiding outside activities during dusk and dawn. If not, he says to be sure to wear repellent.

West Nile survivor Spence says he has recovered, but still deals with common symptoms such as weakness, nausea and headaches.

"It's important for people to protect themselves from mosquito bites because West Nile is not just a virus that you contract and it goes away when you're supposedly over it. West Nile will affect you for the rest of your life," said Spence.

In 2017, Mississippi reported 63 West Nile cases and two deaths. Ashley Norwood, MPB News.

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