CDC: West Nile up 25 percent this week

Sept. 6, 2012 at 12:54 AM   |   Comments

ATLANTA, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- There were 1,993 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 87 deaths, in the United States as of Tuesday, health officials said.

Dr. Lyle Petersen, director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, said of the total cases, 54 percent were classified as neuroinvasive disease such as meningitis or encephalitis and 46 percent were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease.

In comparison, the numbers reported last week were 1,590 total cases, 889 neuroinvasive disease cases, and 66 deaths, therefore, this week's numbers represented about a 25 percent increase over last week, Petersen said.

More than 70 percent of the cases have been reported from the following six states: Texas, South Dakota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Michigan and Louisiana. Nearly 45 percent of all cases have been reported from Texas.

"Although we may be past the historical peak, we expect that a great many cases of West Nile virus disease have not yet been reported, largely because of the lag between when a person gets sick and when the illness is reported," Petersen said in a statement. "Even if West Nile virus transmission were to stop today, we would continue to see reports of cases for several weeks."

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