The West Nile Virus has impacted more than 2,630 Americans this year alone, with a reported 900 cases (up 35 percent) last week stemming from the nation's interior including Texas and Louisiana.
Dr. Angela L. Rasmussen, Ph.D., an infectious disease expert, said, "The West Nile virus has had an overwhelming impact this year alone, particularly due to the excessive heat and humidity that has struck the United States, which has created ideal breeding conditions for the mosquito which transmits the virus. I expect the virus to have peaked last week and we should start to see fewer cases as we enter the fall."
Thus far in 2012, there have been approximately 2,636 cases of West Nile and 118 deaths across the country. The mosquito-borne virus typically peaks in August since it is traditionally the warmest month on the calendar. Dr. Rasmussen believes the above-average heat and flooding from tropical storms this past summer have led to a significant increase in the amount of cases.
In addition, Dr. Rasmussen noted:
- People need to take preventative measures to protect themselves from the Virus by avoiding moist environments that also contain standing water especially in the evening when the humidity rises and temperatures fall.
- More than 80 percent of those affected by the virus are not even aware they have it since the symptoms are similar to other common ailments. Anyone experiencing slight headaches, rashes, and a fever should consult a physician for immediate attention.
- The peak of the season should be over at this point with temperatures falling nation-wide and humidity levels dropping as well. Still, individuals need to be conscious of their health this time of year as the body adjusts to the changing seasons.