West Nile Virus Spreads Across Parts Of The U.S.

An electron micrograph of the West Nile virus.
West Nile virus is a flavivirus commonly found in Africa, West Asia, and the Middle East. It is closely related to St. Louis encephalitis virus found in the United States. The virus can infect humans, birds, mosquitoes, horses and some other mammals.
Content Providers(s): CDC/Cynthia Goldsmith
Creation Date: 2002

Rapid Spread of West Nile Virus Across America

The deadly West Nile Virus has begun spreading so rapidly across the USA that officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are advising citizens to actively take steps to prevent getting the disease.

Almost 700 cases have been reported this year to the CDCP, almost half of those occuring in the state of Texas due to bites from infected mosquitos.

Forty-three states in all have reported cases of West Nile Virus, with the largest concentration in California, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Missisippi.

People are being urged to use insect repellant when planning to be outdoors now through September, the height of mosquito infestation in most parts of the country.

“It is not clear why we are seeing more activity than in recent years,” said Marc Fischer, a CDC medical epidemiologist. “Regardless of the reasons for the increase, people should be aware of the West Nile virus activity in their area and take action to protect themselves and their family.”

Residents are also being urged to remove any standing pools of water around their property which tend to attract the virus-bearing mosquitos, in addition to wearing long sleeves and slacks when out of doors in early morning or evening hours.

The West Nile virus has picked up steam over the course of the past few weeks, as many cases have been reported all across the U.S.

The virus can be fatal to people with a weak immune system the most. This includes elderly people, as well as young children.

In 2007, the CDC reported that 124 deaths were linked to the West Nile virus.

Symptoms of the West Nile virus include fever, and headaches.

More severe cases lead to convulsions, paralysis, etc.