Published Date: 2012-09-13 14:46:13
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> West Nile virus - USA (16)
Archive Number: 20120913.1293167
WEST NILE VIRUS - USA (16)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Wed 12 Sep 2012
Source: The Augusta Chronicle [edited]
The current West Nile virus outbreak is the "most serious" since the virus emerged in the US and is on track to become the deadliest, although the hope is [that] it is waning now, a health official said Wednesday [12 Sep 2012].
As of Tuesday [11 Sep 2012] , there have been 2636 confirmed human cases, including 1405 cases of neuroinvasive disease, the highest number for the 2nd week of September  since West Nile appeared in the USA in 1999. There have been 118 deaths so far and it is tracking to eclipse the previous record of 284 deaths in 2002, said Dr Larry Petersen, the director of the Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Officials believe "this year's outbreak is the largest to date and certainly the most serious," he said.
While those numbers are expected to increase through October , the peak of the outbreak likely has already happened, he said. "We believe in most areas of the country the epidemic probably peaked around the end of August ," Petersen said. Officials are still trying to understand why a larger outbreak occurred this year but one theory is it has been "abnormally hot" in many areas of the country and that tends to create greater transmission of the virus, he said. "The longer the weather stays warm, the more transmission is going to occur. In the South, for instance, transmission can occur throughout the year", he said.
So far, neither Georgia nor South Carolina has been hard hit by West Nile. Georgia has had 29 human cases and 3 deaths; South Carolina [SC] has had 8 cases, but the CDC has not been notified of a death of an elderly Aiken County man. The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control identified the man as an 80 year old of North Augusta, who died 25 Aug .
[Byline: Tom Corwin]
ProMED-mail from HealthMap alerts
[The number of confirmed cases of West Nile virus (WNV) infection in the USA has gone from 1993 with 87 deaths as of 4 Sep 2012 to 2636 with 118 deaths as reported above, as of 11 Sep 2012, just a week later. One hopes that the comment that numbers of cases peaked late last month (August 2012) proves correct. Meanwhile, the public is well advised to avoid mosquito bites until the transmission season ends with hard frosts in autumn. Owners of equine animals should be sure that the vaccinations against WNV are current. There are no commercially available WNV vaccines for humans.
A HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map showing the locations of the states mentioned in this report can be accessed at http://healthmap.org/r/1hiS. - Mod.TY]