Tennesseans concerned about West Nile virus - WKRN News 2

Tennesseans concerned about West Nile virus

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

They are pesky insects that bite and itch, but this year mosquitoes have become more than a nuisance, they can be dangerous.

The first human case of West Nile virus recently appeared in a woman from Ashland City.

Officials with the state department of health are getting more questions from residents, worried about the potential for the virus.

"There are phone calls coming in from our local health department and here at the state. Primarily, they are for information and education," said Dr. Tim Jones with the Tennessee Department of Health.

Currently, there have been 14 reported human cases of West Nile in Tennessee, with most of those being in Memphis.

Health officials told Nashville's News 2 they expect the reported number to rise before the season ends.

"People may have headaches, a mild fever, some fatigue, muscle aches but not anything that would necessarily ever take them to the doctor, certainly not the hospital," said Dr. Jones.

According to Jones, the only way to know for sure if someone has West Nile virus is to undergo blood work.

"There isn't any treatment for West Nile virus.  There is not an antibiotic or anything that can cure the disease.  Really, it's a matter of our own bodies fighting it off and that generally takes a few days," said Dr. Jones.

To prevent mosquito bites, health officials advise limited time outside, use bug spray and to get rid of any standing water around your home. 

Health officials added there is no need to panic about the virus and it's only necessary to see a doctor if you have a bad rash, severe fever or other unexplained symptom that won't go away.

The Centers for Disease and Control confirmed earlier this week almost 2,000 cases of West Nile virus have been reported across the country.

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