Nov 9, 2006 (CIDRAP News) Forty-one states and the District of Columbia have reported a total of 3,830 cases of West Nile virus (WNV) infection, including 119 deaths, so far this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today.
The numbers signal a bigger epidemic than last year, but much smaller than in the record year of 2003. In 2005 a total of 3,000 cases, including 119 fatal ones, were reported, according to the CDC. The record year for WNV in the United States was 2003, with 9,862 cases, including 264 deaths.
In the Nov 10 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the CDC says this years cases include 1,339 that involved neurologic disease (encephalitis, meningitis, or myelitis), 2,324 involving fever but no neurologic disease, and 167 unspecified cases.
Idaho has been hit hardest so far this year, with 824 WNV cases, followed by Colorado, 310; Texas, 305; California, 266; and Nebraska, 217. No cases have been reported this year in Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, or Vermont.
Evidence of WNV has been found in blood from 306 blood donors so far this year, the CDC said. Sixty-five of the donors subsequently had West Nile fever, three suffered neuroinvasive disease, and two had unspecified conditions. Blood banks began screening for WNV in 2003, after 23 West Nile cases were linked to donated blood in 2002.
CDC. West Nile virus activityUnited States, January 1November 7, 2006. MMWR 2006 Nov 10;55(44):1204-5 [Full text]