Published On: Thu, Aug 30th, 2012

West Nile Virus cases increase 40 percent in a week according to CDC

Health officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Texas Department of State Health Services gave a telebriefing today updating the public on the current West Nile Virus (WNV) outbreak in the United States.

The director of the division of vector-borne infectious diseases at the CDC, Dr. Lyle Petersen started out by releasing the latest numbers.

As of August 28th, 2012, a total of 48 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds or mosquitoes. Only Alaska and Hawaii have reported no West Nile virus activity.  Forty-three states have reported at least one human case of West Nile virus disease. CDC received reports of 1,590 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 66 deaths. Of these, 889 (56 percent) were classified as neuroinvasive disease, such as meningitis or encephalitis; and 701 (or 44 percent) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease.  These numbers represent a 40 percent increase over last week’s report of 1,118 total cases, 629 neuroinvasive disease cases, and 41 deaths.  The 1,590 cases reported thus far in 2012, is the highest number of West Nile virus disease cases reported to the CDC through the last week in August since West Nile virus was first detected in the United States in 1999.  More than 70 percent of the cases have been reported from 6 states, which in descending order are Texas, South Dakota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Michigan.  Nearly half of the cases are from Texas.

Although it is impossible to tell, Peterson believes the 2012 case numbers may come close to or even exceed the total number reported in the epidemic years of 2002 and 2003, when about 3000 cases of neuroinvasive disease and more than 260 deaths were reported each year.

mosquito photo


Dr. Peterson also tried to assure the public by saying that the CDC is working closely with state and local governments to contain the outbreak.

Peterson was followed by Dr. David Lakey, Commissioner for the Texas Department of State Health Services who stated he does not believe the WNV outbreak has peaked.

According to Texas Health Department data, there have been 783 state confirmed cases of West Nile disease.  That’s up 197 from last week.  In addition, there have been 31 deaths,  up 10 from  last week.

Texas, a state that loves their football, has even started displaying Public Service Announcements at certain high school football games scoreboards.

Lakey specifically spotlighted the “epicenter” of the WNV epidemic, Dallas County.

He noted as of this morning, Dallas city health department have reported 309 cases.  152 of those were the West Nile neuroinvasive disease and Dallas County, alone, has 12 deaths.



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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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