New West Nile numbers to be released Monday

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Right now, the United States is on pace to have the worst West Nile Virus outbreak on record. So far this year, West Nile has killed two Arkansans and sickened more than 1100 Americans.

The West Nile Virus, passed on to humans through mosquito bites, has no cure and, in some cases, can be deadly.

“He was such a strong and healthy man, it’s just hard to believe that something as small as a mosquito could take him out,” says William Spencer III.

William Spencer III’s 88-year-old grandfather, William Spencer, Sr., became the first Arkansan to die this year after contracting the West Nile Virus.

“It was definitely a shock to us. We just couldn’t believe that of all things, that he would’ve been the one that got West Nile, but you know, it could happen to anybody I guess,” he says.

The World War II veteran had flu-like symptoms, dehydration, and spent two weeks in the hospital before his death.

Friday, the AR Health Department revealed a second Arkansan died after getting West Nile, but has not released that person’s name or hometown, which is its privacy policy.

“We have West Nile Virus all across the state, and so, everybody needs to be aware and to prevent mosquito bites. So, it really doesn’t matter where the cases are or where the death was. This is a concern all across the state,” says State Veterinarian Susan Weinstein.

To avoid mosquitoes, Weinstein has this advice.

“Wear long sleeves and long pants. Also, use an insect repellant containing DEET to protect yourself against mosquito bites, and the third one is to drain standing water around your house,” she says.

Some cities like North Little Rock and Texarkana are spraying for mosquitoes.

FOX16 talked with the Health Department Sunday, and is told new numbers for West Nile cases will be released Monday morning if they’ve changed.

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