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August 16, 2012
West Nile is increasing: are you prepared?

The CDC is closely monitoring increasing cases of West Nile virus (WNV) in 43 states, according to the agency’s WNV website. Almost 700 people have contracted the disease, and over 25 have died.

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WNV is a seasonal mosquito-borne disease that starts in the summer and extends into fall.  Some experts are blaming low snow fall last winter with the large amounts of these insects.

The website reports that this is the highest number of reported cases through the second month of August since WNV was first detected in North America in 1999.

The latest 2012 WVN update on the website says that 80 percent of the cases have been reported from six states—Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and California.

CDC says on it website that it is addressing this outbreak by:

  • Managing and maintaining  ArboNET, a nationwide electronic surveillance system where states share information about WNV and other arboviral diseases
  • Supporting states develop and carry out improved mosquito prevention and control programs
  • Developing better, faster tests to detect and diagnose WNV
  • Preparing updated prevention and surveillance information for the media, the public, and health professionals
  • Working with partners on the development of vaccines

Read the CDC's Before the Swarm: Guidelines for the Emergency Management of Mosquito-Borne Disease Outbreaks, a document that provides analysis and recommendations for countering the threat of mosquito-borne disease outbreaks.
Texas most affected

The update states that half of the reported cases are in Texas.  The Texas Department of State Health Services is monitoring the situation on its WVN website at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/idcu/disease/arboviral/westnile,which includes a fact sheet, answers to frequently asked questions, information on insect repellent products, and guidelines for the emergency management of mosquito-borne diseases.

The website also lists risk factors for contracting WNV, symptoms of the disease and ways in which the disease is spread (and it is not through casual contact such as in the workplace).

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