LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas Department of Health has recorded its first death this year attributed to the West Nile virus.
The agency says 15 cases of the virus have been reported in Arkansas so far this year.
The Arkansas State Veterinarian Susan Weinstein says, “We don't ever release the excact locational information, because the important thing to remember is we have West Nile Virus all across the state, so everybody needs to be aware.”
There have been more than 1,100 cases reported nationwide through the middle of August. That's three times as many as usually seen at this point in the year. About half the cases are in Texas. Most West Nile infections are reported in August and September.
Weinstein says “Our interpretation of the HIPPA laws has been well established, and this has been our policy for many years, not to release information to protect the privacy of the families who have disease or to protect their privacy.”
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says the mild winter, early spring, and very hot summer have fostered breeding of the mosquitoes that transmit West Nile.
Weinstein encourages people to wear insect repellant and drain standing water that attracts mosquitoes. "If you're concerned about your particular area, you can call your city or community to see if they're spraying, and ask them to target your neighborhood.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports that William R. Spencer, 88 of Little Rock, died from West Nile virus complications.Counties reporting West Nile virus cases, according to the CDC: