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West Nile virus cases in U.S. Texas state double over past two weeks

08-30-2012 16:09 BJT

HOUSTON, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- The number of West Nile virus cases in the U.S. state of Texas has more than doubled over the past two weeks, bringing the total number to 894 with 35 deaths, state health officials said Wednesday.

Texas health department officials on Wednesday also confirmed two more deaths from the mosquito-borne disease and also warned that the outbreak in the state had not yet peaked.

"At this time as I look at the data, I'm not convinced we've peaked," said David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Meanwhile, the number of West Nile virus cases have risen 40 percent in the U.S. since last week and may rival the record years of 2002 and 2003, federal health officials said.

So far this year, the United States has reported 1,590 cases of the mosquito-borne disease, with 66 deaths. About half of the cases are considered to be serious because many mild cases do not get reported or even recognized as being caused by the virus.

As a hotbed of the virus, Texas still has about half of all reported U.S. cases. Of the 35 reported deaths, at least 21 were in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with 13 in Dallas County.

The U.S. has reported more than 30,000 cases of the virus since 1999.

The virus, which was first identified in Uganda in 1937, is a mosquito-borne illness that can lead to serious neurological diseases in some cases and its symptoms include the sudden onset of fever, headache, nausea, dizziness and muscle weakness.

Commonly seen in temperate and tropical regions, the West Nile virus mainly infects birds, but is also known to infect humans mainly via mosquito bites. Scientists said about 80 percent of infections are symptomless.


Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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