West Nile Virus Cases At Highest Level In 8 Years
With nearly 700 cases being reported in 32 states, the U.S. has experienced the largest number of West Nile virus infections since 2004, according to ABC News. The virus has resulted in 26 deaths this year.
- The hot, dry weather across the nation's midsection has created ideal conditions for some species of mosquito. The heat speeds up their life cycle, which accelerates the virus replication process. And during a drought, standing water can quickly turn stagnant when it's not flushed away by rain or runoff.
- Most people infected with West Nile virus won't get sick, but about one in 150 people will develop the severe form of the illness. Symptoms include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis.
Texas has had the most occurrences of West Nile this year; Maine— which has never before reported the virus— discovered its first West Nile mosquito this year. Health officials strongly recommend using insect repellent as there are no vaccines or medications for the virus.
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Reach Executive Producer Paige Brettingen here.