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CDC: West Nile Virus Cases Highest in Recorded History

West Nile Virus has been found in 47 states and has infected a record 1,118 people so far in the United States in 2012.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that this year's outbreak of West Nile virus is the largest in reported history.

The CDC began monitoring cases of West Nile virus in 1999, when it was first detected in the United States. The 1,118 cases reported so far in 2012 is the highest number of cases reported through the third week in August.

In DuPage County, 5 human cases of West Nile virus had been verified earlier this week. The DuPage County Health Department expects the number of cases to increase, it has said. For out of state readers, DuPage County is located west of the Chicago-metro area.

So far in 2012, cases of West Nile virus in people, birds or mosquitoes have been reported in 47 states, with 75 percent of the cases reported in five states: Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, South Dakota and Louisiana, according to the CDC.

Of the 1,118 cases of West Nile in people, 47 have resulted in deaths, the CDC reported. The center also said that 629 cases were classified as neuorinvasive, such as meningitis or encephalitis.

The best way to avoid West Nile virus is to avoid being bitten.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these tips:

  • When outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient. Follow the directions on the package.
  • Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.
  • Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children's wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren't being used.

The DuPage County Health Department offers this information on treating West Nile virus:

There are no medications to treat, or vaccines to prevent, West Nile virus infection, the health department said.  People with milder illnesses typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for several weeks.  Severe cases may require hospitalization so patients receive supportive treatments, such as intravenous fluids, pain medication and medical care.  Anyone with symptoms that cause concern should contact a health care provider.

Glen Ellyn residents who are interested in monitoring West Nile virus in the area may find an interactive map displaying the various incidents of positive and negative findings. The map of mosquito traps found throughout the county will be updated as mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus, the health department said.

Read more on Glen Ellyn Patch about West Nile virus in DuPage County:

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