LITTLE ROCK, Ark.(KTHV) - Three cases of West Nile have been confirmed in Arkansas and that number could soon rise.
Now, state health officials are urging Arkansans to protect themselves against mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes are known to thrive in standing water. They quickly reproduce, hatch, and attack in as little as a week according to Dr. Sue Weinstein, the state public health veterinarian.
"It's the Culex mosquito and this is the one that bites more at dawn and dusk, so now we know that Arkansans need to protect themselves both during the day and night," she said.
With three cases already confirmed in the state, Weinstein said Arkansans can protect themselves by getting rid of breeding grounds and wearing bug repellant.
"By reducing water sources around your house, so if there's any standing water you need to dump it," she said. "If there are bodies of water, like a pond, water ditch that really can't be drained. There's really inexpensive larvicide that you can put in that water."
Health officials recommend removing standing water at least once a week or after every rain. The state health department expects more cases to be identified.
"Our numbers will be changing because we're still investigating some of them," she said.
For many, the virus is not life threatening.
But, Weinstein warned for the one percent that get a very serious form of the virus it can cause inflammation of the brain and the tissue around it.
"The odd thing is 80 percent of people with West Nile are never aware they have it, they have no symptoms at all," Weinstein explained. "The other 20 percent, most of those will get a low-grade fever, some stiffness, some achiness, maybe headaches. That generally will go away by itself."
According to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 159 cases of the illness have been reported so far this year.
Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas have the highest number of confirmed.
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