2 more West Nile virus cases confirmed in Shelby Co. - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

2 more West Nile virus cases confirmed in Shelby Co.

(WMC-TV) - Two additional cases of West Nile virus were found in people in Shelby County.

A 33-year-old woman and an 82-year-old woman were confirmed to have the virus, bringing the total number of West Nile cases in Shelby County to three. There are five total cases across the state.

Shelby County Entomologist Ture Carlson says several factors increase exposure to the West Nile virus.

"The weather, the terrain, the elevation and latitude and longitude, honestly," said Carlson.

He says 90 percent of the mosquitoes in Shelby County are the two species that transmit the virus.

"That's the Northern House Mosquito and the Southern House Mosquito," he said.

Those species thrive in the Mid-South. West Nile is transmitted from birds to mosquitoes and then to humans.

"We have a lower elevation, generally higher temperatures for longer times of the year," said Carlson. "[In Shelby County], you're on a migration route where you have birds that have giant routes even during the winter months."

The health department says the virus is less exclusive these days.

"Generally we see cases in older people, but in the last few years, not necessarily. You can see them now in all ages," said Shelby County Health Department Chief Medical Officer Helen Morrow.

Morrow says use deet insect repellant and wear clothes that cover your arms and legs during peak hours for protection.

"They like to be out in the dusk and the evening hours," said Morrow.

So far, 21 human cases of West Nile Virus have been detected in the State of Mississippi. Only one in the State of Arkansas.

Symptoms of West Nile virus include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.

For more information on how to protect yourself, click here.

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