West Nile emerges for the season

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Aug. 1, 2005

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As of July 12, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had recorded 25 human West Nile Virus cases in 11 states. This tally includes one death. Another 15 states reported animal cases.

"It's impossible to predict what this year's season will hold," said Lyle Petersen, MD, MPH, director of the CDC's division of vector-borne infectious diseases.

The disease emerged initially in New York in 1999 and peaked in 2003, when it caused nearly 10,000 cases and several hundred deaths. It has now been reported in all states except Hawaii and Alaska. About one in 150 people infected with the virus go on to develop serious symptoms, with the highest risk being for those older than 50 or those who have received solid organ transplants.

Public health officials recommended that people utilize strategies to avoid being bitten by any infected mosquitoes.

"Use insect repellant," said Patricia Quinlisk, MD, MPH, Iowa state epidemiologist. "Keep skin covered as much as possible when outdoors and avoid being outside at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active."

Note: This item originally appeared at

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