August 15th, 2012
11:06 AM ET

Dallas mayor declares emergency as West Nile virus spreads

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings declared Wednesday that the city is facing an emergency as the West Nile virus spreads, killing at least 14 people in Texas and 26 nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Dallas declaration clears the way for aerial spraying to kill the infected mosquitos that carry the disease.

The United States is experiencing its biggest spike in West Nile virus since 2004, with 241 cases of the disease reported nationwide this year so far, including four deaths, health officials said last weekend, before the latest totals.

Of the 42 states that have reported infections in people, birds or mosquitoes, 80% of them have been in Texas, Mississippi and Oklahoma, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement. The CDC listed a breakdown of infections by state.

"It is not clear why we are seeing more activity than in recent years," said Marc Fischer, a CDC medical epidemiologist. "Regardless of the reasons for the increase, people should be aware of the West Nile virus activity in their area and take action to protect themselves and their family."

The virus is transmitted through infected mosquitoes.

In the United States, most infections occur between June and September, and peak in August, according to the CDC.

Symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash.

"Less than 1% develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues)," the CDC said.

Those at greater risk are people older than 50 and those with conditions such as cancer, diabetes and kidney disease, or with organ transplants.

There are no medications to treat West Nile virus or vaccines to prevent infection. People with milder illnesses typically recover on their own, but those more seriously affected may need hospital care.

Health experts say prevention measures include avoiding mosquito bites, using insect repellant and getting rid of insect breeding sites.

Symptoms of West Nile virus

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Filed under: Texas
soundoff (185 Responses)
  1. Jed

    bear say to mouskitos : i road ..the jungle fear me..
    Mouskitos answer : i bite you... everybody on this planet died
    To conclude : Mouskitos > all

    August 16, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim in PA

      Sweet Jesus, was that English?

      August 16, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Logan

    Wow. Lots of misinformation. A Mosquito gets the virus from taking infected blood from a virus carrying infected bird. Then the mosquito with now carries the infected blood and in turn infects a human by transferring the virus to the human host. Virus starts in the bird. The mosquito transfers it to people.

    August 16, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Freelancer

    Texas is infected with more deadly virus than west Nile. It is called the Tea Party. When do we get rid of that?

    August 17, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jordan 4

    Hi my loved one! I want to say that this post is awesome, great written and include almost all significant infos. I would like to look extra posts like this .

    August 25, 2012 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
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