The number of West Nile virus cases reported in the US is the highest year-to-date total since the disease was first detected in this country in 1999, federal officials said. The number of fatalities had jumped by nearly a third from the previous week, they said.
Texas continues to be the state hit hardest, accounting for about half of all reported U.S. cases this year. Aerial spraying of insecticide in some areas has reduced the population of mosquitoes that carry the virus, officials there said. But the number of human cases is expected to rise through October because of the lag time between infection and reporting of the illness.
As of Tuesday, a total of 1,993 cases nationwide, including 87 deaths, had been reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a 25 percent increase in the number of cases and a 32 percent increase in deaths from the previous week.