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West Nile Virus Cases Increase Dramatically

The potentially fatal illness has risen sharply across the United States this month and at least one instance has been reported in Sierra Madre.

A historic rise has taken place recently in the number of West Nile Virus cases reported in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday.

“The 1,118 cases reported thus far in 2012 is the highest number of West Nile virus disease cases reported to CDC through the third week in August since West Nile virus was first detected in the United States in 1999,” the CDC reported.

Of those cases, 41 deaths have occurred. In 2012 alone, 47 states have reported WNV infections in people birds or mosquitoes, said the CDC.

While three-fourths of the cases have been reported in Mississippi, Louisiana, South Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas, where almost half of the cases were reported, Sierra Madre has had at least one instance of West Nile Virus recently.

In , according to vector control officials and City News Service.

After in July.

"It is vital that West Nile control is achieved through mosquito control by elimination of mosquito breeding sites, active breeding sites and education on West Nile virus prevention,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich said last month.

About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness, according to the CDC.

Severe symptoms can include:  High fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.

Patch Asks: What do you think of the sharp increase in West Nile Virus cases? Are you taking preventative steps?

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