First West Nile Death Reported in Arkansas
The Arkansas Department of Health confirmed the first death of the year in the state from the West Nile virus Wednesday.
So far this year, there have been 15 cases of WNV in Arkansas, according to health officials.
The first death in Oklahoma was reported on Aug. 10. So far 55 cases have been reported in the state.
“I think with the drought I would think the mosquitoes wouldn’t be such a big deal, but evidently they’re still around,” said Mark Bush, a parent.
There have been 1,118 reported human cases nationwide, with 41 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection. Most cases have been reported in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Oklahoma.
“It’s very scary and you have to do the bug spray, but even then that’s not a given that nothing’s gonna happen,” said Leslie Crable, a parent.
In the United States, most people are infected from June through September, and the number of these infections usually peaks in mid-August.
“It is not clear why we are seeing more activity than in recent years,” said Susan Weinstein, DVM, MPH, state public health veterinarian at the Arkansas Department of Health, in a news release. “Regardless of the reasons for the increase, people should be aware we have West Nile virus in our state and take action to protect themselves and their family from mosquitoes.”
The best way to prevent West Nile virus disease is to avoid mosquito bites. According to the health department, uou can do this by practicing the “Three D’s”
- Drain standing water from your yard. Empty standing water in flowerpots, buckets and kiddie pools.
- Don’t go out at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes feed without protective clothing (long sleeves and pants).
- Do use insect repellents with the active ingredient DEET when you go outdoors.
West Nile virus is transmitted to people by infected mosquitoes, according to the CDC. There are no medications to treat, or vaccines to prevent, human West Nile virus infection.
Common symptoms of West Nile virus include fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Less than one percent will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis, according to the health department.
People with milder illnesses typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for several weeks. Anyone who has symptoms that cause concern should contact a health care provider.
For more information, visit the Arkansas Department of Health’s website at: