Death toll from West Nile virus tops 200

By Marice Richter

DALLAS | Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:44pm EDT

(Reuters) – The U.S. outbreak of West Nile virus has killed 219 people this year, after another 36 deaths from the mosquito-borne disease were reported last week, government figures showed Wednesday.

In what is the second-worst year on record for the disease, the total number of cases of West Nile virus across the United States grew to 4,725, with 194 new cases reported, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although the pace of new cases has slowed since the outbreak’s peak in the late summer, new cases continue to be reported, particularly in states where warm temperatures persist. This year’s outbreak has trailed only 2003 in total cases.

Just over half of the cases reported to the CDC this year have been of the severe neuroinvasive form of the disease, which can cause meningitis and encephalitis.

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