Two new human cases of West Nile reported in Arkansas

The state Department of Health reported two new human cases of West Nile virus today, listing one each in Jefferson and Pope counties. That brings the total number of human cases in Arkansas this year to seven. No human deaths have been attributed to the mosquito-borne virus so far this year. Pat Harris, who is head of the West Nile virus team, emphasized that less than one percent of people exposed to the virus get seriously ill. Health officials recommend common-sense precautions such as using repellant, wearing protective clothing and staying indoors during peak mosquito hours. They also advise getting rid of outdoor items that could collect water, giving mosquitos a place to breed. A horse in Columbia County has died of West Nile and dead birds have tested positive in 23 counties. According to the state Health Department, birds have tested positive in the following counties: Arkansas, Ashley, Baxter, Benton, Boone, Bradley, Carroll, Chicot, Franklin, Johnson, Independence, Logan, Lonoke, Miller, Mississippi, Ouachita, Poinsett, Polk, Saline, Sebastian, Van Buren, Washington and White. A sentinel chicken has tested positive in Arkansas County. Mosquito pools have tested positive this year in Ashley, Crittenden, Greene, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lee, Monroe and St. Francis counties.

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