Spread Of West Nile Virus Won’t Let Up Until October


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Outbreak of West Nile Virus is unusually high this year, however, in 2003, 9,862 cases were reported and 264 people died, according to the CDC’s records.

This year’s outbreak is far from that, however, with human cases reported in 44 states it is still cause for alarm.

Although the disease can be deadly, not everyone will develop serious, neuro-invasive illnesses.

Some will have such light symptoms that they may not know that they are infected at all.

The nationwide numbers were up from 1,590 cases and 65 deaths reported Aug. 28, said Dr. Lyle R. Petersen, director of the CDC’s division of vector-borne infectious diseases.
“We expect this increase to continue for the next several weeks, probably until October,” said Petersen, who added that he was infected with the virus himself a few years ago. Many cases have not yet been logged because of the lag in reporting time, he said.
More than half the cases — 54 percent — are the serious neuroinvasive variety, which can lead to encephalitis or meningitis. The vast majority of West Nile infections, some 80 percent, are so mild that people don’t know they’re infected. About 20 percent develop symptoms and about 1 percent may develop serious, neuro-invasive illnesses.

The disease is spread by infected mosquitos which breed in water.

Unusual weather patterns, light winter and a hot, wet summer have contributed to a rise in the mosquito population.

See you physician if you feel that you may have any symptoms.

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