- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 15, 2017

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Health officials say two cases of West Nile virus were identified last week in Arkansas, marking the first time this year that the illness has been confirmed in the state.

The Arkansas Department of Health says most people are infected with the virus from June through September, with the number of infections peaking in mid-August. The illness is transmitted to people by infected mosquitoes.

Health officials say the best way to prevent the disease is to avoid mosquito bites by using insect repellants and wearing long sleeves, pants and socks when outdoors.

According to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 159 cases of the illness have been reported so far this year. Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas have the highest number of confirmed and probable cases.

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