Of the 241 cases, 144 were considered serious, meaning the virus spread to the brain and nervous system, causing, among other ailments, encephalitis. Last year, less than 700 cases were reported.
Health officials blame the combination of a mild winter, early spring and hot summer, prime conditions for mosquitoes to breed. “Unless the weather changes dramatically, we’ll see more cases (in 2012) than we have in the last couple of years,” said Roger Nasci of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About 1 in 5 people who are infected with the virus get sick. One in 150 get severe symptoms, including neck stiffness, disorientation, coma and paralysis, Stobbe reports. (Read more)