West Nile Virus Cases Up 40 Percent in the U.S. This Week
66 People Have Died From the Disease This Year
This particularly hot summer hasn't just been miserable temperature-wise … health officials say it may also be partly to blame for the mosquito population that has led to 66 West Nile virus deaths in the United States this summer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says confirmed cases of the potentially deadly disease have risen 40 percent in the last week, which is on pace to meet the record number of cases from 2002 and 2003.
The CDC has confirmed 1,590 cases of West Nile so far this year, with 66 deaths, half of which have occurred in Texas.
Fox News reports the CDC thinks West Nile is at its peak right now, but will continue to pop up through October.
The New York City Health Department has even sprayed pesticide in parts of Manhattan where mosquito activity and the risk of West Nile virus was thought to be high.
West Nile virus first appeared in the United States in 1999, and though it can be serious, obviously, CNN.com reports that most people bitten by West Nile-carrying mosquitos -- about 80 percent -- do not get sick.
CNN also reports that people over the age of 50 are most vulnerable to the disease, that most mosquitos do not carry the virus and that there are four major things, the "Four Ds," you can do to help prevent the disease:
-- DEET: use mosquito repellent with DEET;
-- Dress in long pants and long sleeves (we know, easier said than tolerated on 90 degree days);
-- Dusk and dawn: be especially careful at those times, when mosquitos are at their hungriest;
-- Drain any standing water, in kiddie pools, bird fountains and any other areas where mosquitos might like to breed.
CNN.com also stresses how important it is to seek treatment immediately if you experience any of the flu-like symptoms of West Nile virus, including severe confusion or headaches.
Other symptoms of West Nile virus include fever, chills, excessive sweating, weakness, drowsiness, joint pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.