The Arkansas Department of Health announced the first West Nile Virus death in the state on Wednesday via a release that didn’t indicate the name of the deceased or where the death occurred.
Only one case has been reported in Union County.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 15 cases have been reported so far this year as the state enters the traditional peak when mosquitos are most active.
Nationwide, 1,118 cases have been reported and 41 deaths attributed to West Nile, according to the CDC. This is the highest case number in the third week of August since the disease was first detected in the United States in 1999.
Most people who have the disease don’t know it, but one in five will develop symptoms including headache, rash, fever, body aches, joint pain, vomiting or diarrhea. Those at-risk for more serious symptoms include the elderly, the young and those with compromised immune systems.
The department of health advises people to follow the three Ds to avoid the illness: Drain standing water (where mosquitos lay their eggs), don’t go out at dusk or dawn without protective covering and insect repellent, and wear insect repellant with deet.