Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi

Important Health Update: Mosquito-Borne Illnesses

With the warm weather months upon us, this is the time of the year when we see an increase in mosquito activity and mosquito-borne illnesses, like West Nile virus. Mississippi has some of the highest rates of serious West Nile cases in the U.S., with 63 reported cases and two deaths in 2017.

While the risk for West Nile is low for a healthy person, you should still take steps to protect yourself from mosquito bites. West Nile is primarily transferred through direct mosquito bites, however in rare instances there have been cases where a person has contracted the virus through a blood transfusion, organ donation, mother to baby during pregnancy and through breast milk.

Protect yourself from mosquitos at all times when you are outdoors or in areas where mosquitos are prevalent. Here are some tips:

Tips for Mosquito Bite Protection

  • Use mosquito repellent with DEET. Products with up to 30 percent DEET will provide adequate protection under most conditions. Use DEET concentrations of 10 percent or less on children ages 2-12 years of age, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. For children less than two years of age, parents should consult their pediatrician. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use as printed on the product label.

  • Cover your arms and legs with lightweight, long clothing.

  • Avoid areas where mosquitos are plentiful, especially in the morning and at night during peak active times.

  • Remove areas of standing water around your home, including wading pools, gutters and other places where water collects.

The Mississippi State Department of Health has a library of resources and information where you can learn more about mosquito-borne illnesses and also stay up-to-date on outbreaks and other news.

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