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More West Nile Virus Cases Expected in Shelby County

With six confirmed cases of the West Nile virus in Shelby County, health officials say that number will get worse.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - With six confirmed cases of the West Nile virus in Shelby County, health officials say that number will get worse. According to the CDC cases across the country are up 40 percent from last week.

Four people have died from West Nile in Mississippi and Arkansas. The Shelby County Health Department says don't panic, but the fight against this outbreak is far from over.

"We are spraying Monday through Friday at night," said Dr. Daniel Sprenger with the Shelby County Mosquito Vector Control.

You would think that would be enough to stop the spread of the West Nile Virus, but think again.

"We had 71 positive out of 145 different locations tested for the virus," stated Dr. Sprenger.

He says the number of West Nile virus cases is down from last week but more people will get infected.

"The bad news is that we will continue to see human cases and historically the month of September is bad for human cases,” he said.

That's because many people don't know they're infected, just ask Dr. Scott Morris from the Church Health Center.

"More than 80 percent of the people who are infected with the virus have no symptoms,” said Dr. Morris.

He says this week alone he's seen more patients with flu like symptoms, which could mean they have West Nile virus.

"The diagnosis could only be made with a blood test, which is actually very expensive and it takes time and by the time you make the diagnosis they're better,” stated Dr. Morris.

The Shelby County Health Department will continue spraying and treating water that breeds mosquitoes. Doctors say just use common sense. Health departments across the Mid-South say spraying for mosquitoes will continue through September.

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