Arkansas Hits Record in West Nile Deaths

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Arkansas has set a new record for most West Nile virus deaths in a single year, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

The department recorded a fifth death from the virus, breaking the previous high of four in 2005 and 2006.

“It causes headaches, fever, rashes, nausea, muscle pain you just don’t feel well for three or four days,” said Dr. Jim Holden, Northwest Health System.

Dr. Holden said he’s examined patients with similar symptoms. However, none have come back positive. Holden said to avoid all mosquitoes.

“As the sun comes up or the sun goes down that’s when mosquitos are out more. Wear long sleeve shirts, which is kind of uncomfortable if it’s warm but that will protect you, and use mosquito repelant that has DET,” Dr. Holden said.

The state would not release the location of the most recent death. The Centers For Disease Control warn that West Nile season will likely extend through October.

Dr. Holden said it’s important for patients and medical professionals to understand what to look for in a mosquito bit since there isn’t a cure for the West Nile Virus.

“Antibiotics won’t do anything for it but supportive treatment in the hospital with i-v fluids and different things can improve your outcome,” Dr. Holden said.

Arkansas has recorded 41 West Nile cases this year, two shy of the state record set in 2002, the first year the virus was diagnosed in Arkansas, according to the Health Department.

West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, usually during the warm months of summer and early fall. The Health Department warns to use insect repellent and avoid contact with mosquitoes. There are no medications to treat or prevent the virus.

About 80 percent of people infected with West Nile will see no symptoms, according to the state Health Department.

Click here to read more about the West Nile Virus Outbreak in Arkansas and Oklahoma