Many more serious cases of West Nile virus reported this year, but only one in Kentucky

Though only one Kentuckian has been affected, more serious cases of people infected by the West Nile virus have been reported this year than any since 2004. Through July, 241 cases were reported in 22 states. The virus has caused four deaths. Nearly 150 cases have been in Texas, particularly in the Dallas area, reports Mike Stobbe for The Associated Press.

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)

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