Tonawanda News

Web Extras

September 7, 2012

West Nile virus cases accelerating in U.S.

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

More than 70 percent of the cases this year have been reported in six states: Texas, South Dakota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Michigan.

Most people who become infected have no symptoms. In Texas, 89 people found out they had been infected during routine screening for blood donation, Lakey said. A spokeswoman for the American Red Cross said volunteer blood donors are routinely screened for West Nile virus. As of Wednesday, more than 200 would-be donors in 28 states had tested positive this year for West Nile, and the numbers are expected to rise, Red Cross spokeswoman Karen Stecher said. Blood infected with the virus is destroyed or used for research, she said.

Public health experts said it is hard to know for sure what is behind this year's large outbreak, or why Texas — particularly the Dallas area — has been hit so hard. But this summer's heat waves and record temperatures are likely factors, the CDC's Petersen said.

"We know that West Nile virus tends to occur when temperatures are above normal," he said.

The record number of U.S. cases for a full year was reported in 2003, with 9,862 cases and 264 deaths, but the most West Nile deaths were reported in 2002, with 284.

Mosquito-borne outbreaks have always been difficult to predict, experts said. A complex set of environmental factors is involved in West Nile transmission, said Katherine Feldman, Maryland's public health veterinarian. The virus lives in the blood of birds, and mosquitoes spread it to people and horses.

There is no vaccine for humans.

The extent of an outbreak is influenced by the number of mosquitoes and how infectious they are, the population of susceptible bird species, rainfall and temperature. Bringing "all these things together in the right combination at the right time facilitates that the virus go faster and to a greater degree in certain areas of the country," said Roger Nasci, chief of arboviral diseases at the CDC.

Text Only
Web Extras
  • Screen shot 2013-08-08 at 10.10.12 AM.png VIDEO: Dead shark found in New York subway train

    A dead shark was spotted on a train headed to Queens. It was still wet and had blood in its mouth. The sighting coincides with Shark Week on the Discovery Channel.

    August 8, 2013 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • 0805-bees.jpg Ga. man survives more than 1,000 bee stings

    A Georgia man survived being stung more than 1,000 times by bees, which then attacked emergency responders who came to help, according to the man’s stepson.

    August 7, 2013 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • county-clean-fatberg-image.jpg Gross! 16.5-ton glob of fat removed from sewer system

    If you've ever wondered what happens when you ignore those warnings about pouring grease down the drain, residents of one London suburb have found the disgusting answer. It's a 16.5-ton, bus-sized glob of fat, known as a "fatberg."

    August 6, 2013 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • 0805-fiery-truck-crash.jpg Video shows semi truck going airborne, bursting into flames

    Amateur video captured a fiery crash in this Indiana town, when a semi truck went airborne over a highway interchange and burst into flames.

    August 6, 2013 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • iStock_000007205767XSmall.jpg Are growing pains real?

    Are growing pains real? If so, what causes them? And how do I make sure my kid never has them, because I really don't need another reason for screamy 3 a.m. wake-ups?

    August 6, 2013 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • screenshot best man.jpg VIDEO: Dying boy plays best man at parents' wedding

    Looking dapper in a tiny tan pinstripe suit and orange shirt, a 2-year-old boy with only weeks to live served as the best man for his parents' Pennsylvania wedding.

    August 6, 2013 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • Screen shot 2012-12-05 at 4.31.28 PM.png VIDEO: According to trainers dogs can drive too

    Three dogs in New Zealand have been taught to drive a car. After weeks of indoor training in how to change gear, brake and steer, the canines have finally been allowed behind the wheel of a real car - with a little help from their handlers.

    December 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • HEALTH EXERCISE51.jpg Compression garments: So, does tight mean right?

    It seems that you can't head to a gym or run down your favorite trail these days without finding someone wearing compression garments.

    December 6, 2012 1 Photo

  • earth-at-night.jpg VIDEO: NASA's night view of Earth

    Weeks of work went into collecting pictures of the entire planet to create a remarkable look at night on Earth.

    December 6, 2012 1 Photo

  • 1376693_51096520.jpg Hospital incentives help babies determine own birth dates

    The evidence has been in for some time. Scheduling births may be convenient for physicians, hospitals and expectant parents, but it generally isn't good for the health of mothers and children.

    December 6, 2012 1 Photo