The West Nile virus has been spotted in mosquitoes in at least two Metro Atlanta counties recently, and now the CDC says more human cases have been reported nationally than ever before.
In a statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 1,118 human cases, the highest number reported through this point in the year since the disease hit the United States in 1999. The cases resulted in 41 deaths.
Regionally, mosquitoes have tested positive for the virus and .
The West Nile virus is generally spread by mosquitoes that feed on infected birds, the CDC says. Eighty percent of people infected by the virus show no symptoms at all, and only one in 150 people infected develop severe illness.
Three-quarters of the human cases have been reported in five states, the CDC says: Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Dakota and Oklahoma. Half the human cases have been in Texas.
The CDC offers these tips to help slow the spread of West Nile:
- Regularly remove standing water from flower pots, birdbaths and other outdoor receptacles.
- Clean out clogged gutters.
- Look in hard-to-see places for trash that can hold water.
- Use insect repellant on exposed skin.
- Where long-sleeved clothing and long pants when weather permits.