As it has since the West Nile virus surfaced in this country at the turn of the century, Mississippi’s Department of Health provides a weekly running count on how many cases of the mosquito-borne illness have been detected.

West Nile can be a severe, even fatal disease for those with compromised immune systems. Most people, though, don’t even realize they’ve contracted it. That’s why the number of documented cases is relatively puny, with seven in the entire state so far this year.

We wonder if the disease would get this level of attention if it had a less exotic name.

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