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While Covid-19 Prevention is Priority, Don’t Forget About West Nile

While Covid-19 Prevention is Priority, Don’t Forget About West Nile

With all eyes focused on the current Coronavirus pandemic, it’s important to not let up on awareness of other health threats to our families. As it has in recent years, the West Nile Virus has again showed up in the state of Mississippi. This virus — which is preventable by taking simple precautions — is upon us again this summer. As families practice social distancing by opting for outdoor activities over indoor, the risk of West Nile — transmitted via mosquitoes — might increase.

In a recent press release, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported the first diagnosed case of West Nile for 2020, in Claiborne County.

“This is a reminder that even though we are in the midst of ongoing transmission of COVID-19, West Nile virus has not gone away,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “We are approaching the time of year when WNV is most active in Mississippi, so it’s important to protect yourself.”

 Although most infected people recover without problems, some develop an infection that can lead to more serious illness, or even death. To keep things in perspective, however, parents should know it’s nothing to panic over. In 2019, there was a total of 15 cases, with no deaths.

With a few simple precautions, West Nile should not be a major worry. MSDH said these basic, easy precautions should include:

— Use of mosquito repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient such as DEET, applied just before venturing outdoors.

— Removal of all sources of standing water around the home, so as to discourage mosquito breeding.

— Wearing of loose, long clothing to cover arms and legs whenever outdoors.

— Avoidance of areas where mosquitoes are prevalent.

About The Author

Kara Bachman

Kara Bachman is a Managing Editor for Parents & Kids. She's also a book editor, former newspaper reporter, and is author of the humor essay collection, "Kissing the Crisis," which deals with the zanier aspects of parenting, relationships and turning 40. She's read her work on NPR radio and over 1,500 items have appeared in dozens of literary and commercial publications, including The Writer, The Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop, the New Orleans Times-Picayune and Nola.com, Dogster, Mississippi Magazine, American Fitness and many more. She's a New Orleans native, but lived for over a dozen years on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, including during 2005 when her house was flooded by Hurricane Katrina. She's a mom to two teenagers.

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