A Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito (Photo : Reuters)
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that through August, 1,100 people have been infected with the West Nile Virus (WNV), resulting in 41 fatalities.
Fox News reports that CDC officials are concerned due to the fact that only 25 cases of the virus were known of last month.
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Dr. Lyle R. Petersen, director of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases for the CDC states, "This will be amongst the biggest or the biggest break we've had in the United States."
According to the same report, only Hawaii, Alaska and Vermont have avoided any cases of the infection.
In Texas alone, there are 586 instances of the virus, resulting in 21 deaths. Texas accounts for nearly half of the reported fatalities from West Nile.
In response, the state has commenced spraying pesticides around highly populated areas of the state. Dr. David Lakey, the commissioner for the Texas Department of Health, assures that the pesticides being used to curtail the epidemic are not harmful to humans.
According to Fox, Peterson attributes the severity of the situation to the abnormally warm weather this year. The conditions were perfect for mosquitos to breed en masse.
In order to prevent West Nile Virus, the CDC's official site suggests using insect repellant, wear long sleeves, staying inside at dusk and dawn (when mosquitos are most active), and minimizing standing water to get rid of breeding sites.
The CDC confirms that "80 percent of people who are infected with WNV will now show any symptoms at all."
Another 20 percent experience mild 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." These symptoms "can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks."
For one in 150 people who carry WNV, serious illness can take hold resulting in "high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis." The site adds, "These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent."