First West Nile case turns up in Washington County

(May 20, 2004) - (Little Rock-AP) -- The first case of West Nile virus found in a bird in Arkansas this year has been reported. The state Health Department says the virus was found in a dead crow that was found in Washington County. The case was detected a week after the Health Department began testing for the virus. No humans have tested positive for the mosquito-borne virus so far this year in the state. Arkansas researchers have set up mosquito traps, are testing chicken flocks and are asking residents to turn in dead blue jays and crows to their county health department to monitor the disease. The virus is passed to humans and other animals by mosquitos that have bitten diseased birds. There is no vaccine or treatment for the virus. In 2003, Arkansas had 26 cases of West Nile virus in humans but no deaths were blamed on the virus. In 2002, the state reported 43 human cases and blamed the virus for five deaths.