Despite the recent outbreak of West Nile Virus cases in Arkansas and neighboring states, White County has not been affected by the virus; however, the Arkansas Department of Health recently reported two deaths in Arkansas associated with the West Nile Virus.
According to White County Medical Center Infection Control Nurse Mary Lou Adams, RN, White County has not had any reported cases of the West Nile Virus this year. “The unusually dry summer may by a contributing factor to the lack of cases in White County,” she said. “Standing water is the breeding ground for mosquitoes; due to the drought conditions in our area over the summer, there is very little standing water for the mosquitoes to take advantage of.”
Adams said the best way to avoid contracting the West Nile Virus is by preventing mosquito bites. “Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn,” she said. “If possible, do not go outdoors during those hours, or use a mosquito repellent with DEET. Also, make sure there is no standing water in your yard that may invite mosquitoes to breed, such as flower pots or even kiddie pools.”
The West Nile Virus can have no symptoms or it can be a very serious illness; many people who are bitten by an infected mosquito never know it.
“Symptoms of the West Nile Virus are often similar to those of the flu,” Adams said. “People should seek medical attention from a doctor if they develop fever, headache, joint pain or rash. Many of the tick-related illnesses seen this time of year have similar symptoms.”
Individuals at greatest risk for developing a more serious form of the West Nile Virus are the elderly, those with an already compromised immune system and those who have a serious chronic illness.
ABOUT WHITE COUNTY MEDICAL CENTER
As the leading healthcare provider in a six-county area, White County Medical Center associates strive to create a healthy community by providing quality patient care and participating in community health events. White County Medical Center is the largest employer in Searcy with more than 1,500 associates. The facility has a combined total of 438 licensed beds and a medical staff of 150 physicians that specialize in various areas of healthcare.