The number of infections attributed to West Nile virus in the United States has jumped over 60 percent compared to last week in what is reported as the country’s biggest-ever outbreaks of the disease, according to federal officials.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 1,118 cases and 41 deaths had been reported so far this 2012, compared to just 700 cases and 26 deaths one week ago.
The numbers are the highest reported through the third week of August since the West Nile virus was first detected in the country in 1999. The year 2003 remains the worst outbreak yet, with 9,862 cases and 264 deaths.
The cases of West Nile usually increase during summer season because the disease is most often transmitted from infected birds to humans by mosquito bites. There is no specific treatment for the infection, symptoms of which vary from mild to fatal.
Photo credit: Reuters/James Gathany/Center For Disease Control/Handout
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