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West Nile Virus Claims 41 Lives

Two cases have been reported in Maryland.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced "one of the biggest outbreaks" since the West Nile virus arrived in the U.S. in 1999, reports USA Today.

So far, 41 deaths have been reported nationwide as a result of West Nile virus, according to the report.

Maryland health officials confirmed there have been two cases of West Nile virus in the state this year, reported The Washington Post.

In the last week, the number of reported cases of West Nile virus has nearly doubled, increasing from 693 to 1,118 cases, according to USA Today.

Lyle Petersen, director of the Division of Vector-borne Infectious Diseases for the CDC, told USA Today this is triple the average number of reported cases for mid-August, signaling one of the worst outbreaks in U.S. history.

The very young, the elderly and persons with depressed immune systems are at most risk for acquiring the disease from mosquito bites, according to state agriculture officials.

Seventy five percent of the West Nile cases are in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Dakota and Oklahoma—with Texas accounting for nearly half, according to USA Today.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture offers tips for staying healthy:

  • Avoid unnecessary outdoor activities at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear long pants, a long-sleeve shirt and hat when outdoors.
  • Use mosquito repellents containing DEET. (Consult a physician before applying DEET to young children.)
  • Restrict the outdoor play of your children if mosquitoes are present.
  • Drain all water-holding outdoor containers around the home.
  • Inspect basements and crawl spaces. If they are flooded, drain as quickly as possible.
Kim Dixon August 23, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Yea I wonder if Howard county will spray for mosquitoes like they did in the 70s and early 80s, especially along race rd where I live. They talk of standing water however they have holding ponds at practicalty every development.

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