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Published On: Thu, Oct 18th, 2012

CDC: Number of West Nile virus cases exceed 4,500, highest since 2003

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the updated numbers on the current West Nile virus outbreak Tuesday.

West Nile virus (WNV) activity reported to ArboNET, by state, United States, 2012 (as of October 16, 2012) Image/CDC

As of October 16, 2012, 48 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. A total of 4,531 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 183 deaths, have been reported to CDC. Of these, 2,293 (51%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 2,238 (49%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease.

The 4,531 cases reported thus far in 2012 is the highest number of West Nile virus disease cases reported to CDC through the third week in October since 2003. Almost 70 percent of the cases have been reported from eight states (Texas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Illinois, South Dakota, Michigan, and Oklahoma) and over a third of all cases have been reported from Texas.

First discovered in Uganda in 1937, West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne disease that can cause encephalitis, a brain inflammation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 80 percent of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all.

Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.

About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness.

The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.

There is no specific treatment for WNV infection.

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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