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Ear to the Ground

West Nile Virus on a Deadly Tear in U.S.

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Posted on Aug 22, 2012
James Jordan (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counts 1,118 cases of West Nile virus in the U.S. through the third week of August in what is shaping up to be the worst year ever for the disease since it was first detected in the country in 1999. Forty-one people have died from the virus so far this year.

Scientists agree that the spread of West Nile is enabled by global warming, which enlarges the territory of mosquitoes and other organisms that carry the virus.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

CNN Health:

Petersen said that the reason for the high number of cases this year is unclear, but that unusually warm weather could have fostered favorable conditions for the disease’s transfer to humans.

About 75% of the cases are in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Dakota and Oklahoma. Texas has been at the epicenter of the outbreak, with 586 confirmed cases and 21 deaths, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

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