published Friday, September 7th, 2012

Knox County sees first West Nile case in 6 years

KNOXVILLE — Knox County is reporting its first case of West Nile disease in six years, while Shelby County says the number of residents with the mosquito-borne illness there has increased to 10.

WATE-TV reports the health department has been spraying around Knox County to try to kill the infected mosquitoes that spread the virus.

Spraying also continues in Shelby County, where health officials reported four more cases, raising the state’s total to 15 this year.

A mild case of West Nile can cause flu-like symptoms and a skin rash. But a severe case can cause convulsions, vision loss, numbness, paralysis, coma and even death. The symptoms can last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.

People over the age of 50 are more likely to develop serious symptoms.

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