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General Health : Infectious Disease Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

West Nile virus: National overview
By Sue Mueller
May 26, 2008 - 11:27:46 AM

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MONDAY May 26, 2008 ( -- It's that time of the year again that people need to pay attention to West Nile.  There has been some reporting of West Nile activity in some states.  According to U.S. Geological Survey, five people in four states and 12 mosquito samples from 2 states have tested positive for West Nile as of May 23, 2008.

The five human cases have been reported in Maricopa County (1) in Arizona, Montgomery County (1) in Texas, Lincoln County (1) and Madison County in Mississippi, and Shelby County (1) in Tennessee.  There is often a delay that local and state governments report West Nile cases to the federal agency.

Mosquito samples that tested positive for West Nile virus have been reported in Riverside County (9) in California and Harris County (3) in Texas as of May 20, according to the USGS.

In California, the State Department of Public Health department confirmed that as of May 23, West Nile activity had been found in 10 counties including Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Clara, Sutter, and Tulare, 41 dead birds, and 11 mosquito samples in three counties in the state including Los Angeles and Orange counties.  Compared to 2007, the virus seems more active this year.

On May 24, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced mosquito samples collected in Tazewell County and Dupage County have been confirmed for the first time of the year to be positive for West Nile virus.

The mosquito samples were collected on May 16 in Creve Coeur and on May 19 in Bartlett. The Illinois state agency was notified by Tazewell and Dupage County Health Department of the findings as part of its routine surveillance for West Nile virus.

People get West Nile virus through a bite of a mosquito infected with the virus.  Mosquitoes can acquire the virus by feeding on an infected bird.

About 20 percent of the people who are bitten by an infected mosquito may experience an illness three to 15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms include fever, headache, body aches.  In serious cases, encephalitis and meningitis and death can result from an infection.  People older than 50 years of age are considered at high risk of West Nile.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that to avoid West Nile virus, people should reduce the number of mosquitoes in areas outdoor where people work or play by draining sources of standing water and avoid bites of mosquitoes by staying indoors at dawn, and in the early evening or applying insect repellent to exposed skin.

© 2004-2008 by unless otherwise specified

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