West Nile Virus cases increase to 54

Two new human cases of West Nile Virus were reported by the Mississippi State Department of Health on Monday, bringing the state total to 54 this year. The new cases were in Forrest, Scott and Hinds counties. So far this year, cases have been reported in Bolivar, Calhoun (2), Clarke, Clay, Covington, DeSoto, Forrest (5), Hinds (12), Humphreys (2), Jones, Lauderdale, Leake, Lee (3), Leflore, Lincoln (2), Lowndes (2), Madison (4), Monroe, Noxubee, Perry, Rankin (6), Scott (2), Wilkinson, and Yazoo counties. Two deaths have been reported in Forrest and Humphreys counties. In 2016, Mississippi had 43 West Nile Virus cases and two deaths.

Department of Health receives ‘hugely important’ national accreditation

The Department of Health has received national accreditation from the Public Health Accreditation Board. Monday’s announcement marks the culmination of a rigorous four-year effort by the department that involved getting community input, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of agency policies and focusing on ways to improve quality. Altogether the agency submitted more than 13,000 pages of documents to the accrediting board. “This is an incredible achievement for our agency, and it’s important for the state as a whole because it means we’re more accountable and credible to the public, our funders, elected officials and community partners,” said Dr. Mary Currier, the state health officer. But it also marks a rare win for the agency, which underwent a department-wide restructuring this summer in the wake of several statewide budget cuts.