More West Nile Cases Present Than Last Year

July 2, 2003 - Posted at: 10:23 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- State health officials say Arkansas is seeing more cases of West Nile virus in animals earlier in the summer than last year.

There still are no cases of the virus in humans. The latest confirmed case involves a bird -- the fifth diagnosed with West Nile this year. Two horses have also tested positive.

In 2002 the state reported 43 human cases of the virus. Five Arkansans died after becoming infected with West Nile.

State health department spokeswoman Ann Wright says although few people bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus become infected, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are vulnerable.

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