West Nile Update

September 5, 2003  --  Posted at 7:15 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.  --Thirty-five Arkansas counties now are confirmed as having evidence of the West Nile virus.

The state Health Department added seven more counties to the list yesterday.

The agency says the mosquito-borne virus has been confirmed in dead birds found in Franklin, Lafayette, Phillips, Poinsett, Saline, Scott and Stone counties. A total of ten human cases of the virus have been confirmed this summer, including six from Jefferson County and one each in Cleburne, Miller, Pulaski and Sevier counties.

Health officials say residents should take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Through Thursday, West Nile had also been detected in birds, horses or mosquito pools in Arkansas, Ashley, Benton, Chicot, Clark, Craighead, Crawford, Conway, Dallas, Drew, Faulkner, Greene, Hempstead, Hot Springs, Little River, Logan, Lonoke, Mississippi, Sebastian, Union, Van Buren, Washington and Woodruff counties.

Most people who contract the disease have mild or no symptoms. In rare cases, the illness can cause fatal brain swelling. The disease is a particular danger to older people.

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