West Nile rising in Ark.; Health Dept. sends alert
The Arkansas Health Department says nine cases of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus have been confirmed in the state this year, compared to only one case in 2011.
The agency on Thursday asked doctors to keep watch for the disease and send samples for lab testing of suspected cases.
West Nile numbers are up in surrounding states and the Health Department says the number of Arkansas cases is expected to rise.
About 20 percent of infected people show symptoms that include fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or a rash. The agency says the symptoms can be attributed to any number of illnesses and that's why lab testing is necessary to confirm the illness.
In about 1 percent of cases, patients develop brain swelling, which can be fatal.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.