Health officials gear up for West Nile virus

(May 13, 2004) — (Little Rock-AP) -- State health officials say the best way to prevent a dangerous round of West Nile virus this summer is for Arkansans to avoid mosquitoes. The Arkansas Health Department has new equipment to test for the virus and identify areas where mosquitoes are carrying the disease. State Health Department director Doctor Fay Boozman says the best way to avoid the disease is to not be bitten by mosquitoes. Officials urge people to eliminate standing water around their homes and otherwise alter areas where mosquitoes could breed. People should avoid going outside at dawn, dusk and early evening, when mosquitos are most active. The state also advises wearing long sleeve shirts, pants and hats -- plus a mosquito repellant with DEET.