West Nile cases now top peak year of 2006

WNV Cases

Credit: WFAA

West Nile cases now top peak year of 2006

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WFAA

Posted on August 1, 2012 at 7:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 1 at 7:02 PM

It's only the first of August, and there are already more human cases of the West Nile virus than there were back in 2006, the most active previous year.

Dallas County now reports 109 cases; there are 72 cases in Tarrant County, 46 in Denton County and 9 in Collin County.

Dr. William Sutker of Baylor University Medical Center talked about the spike in infections during an online chat with WFAA medical reporter Janet St. James.

"The people who are traditionally most affected are people over the age of 50 who have underlying diseases or have some compromise of their immune system," he said. "But realize it can affect any age group, and there have been younger patients who have been infected as well."

But why is this disease so widespread this year? "We think that the environmental effects of a milder winter and also with some additional moisture as compared to previous years have made the environment ideal for the predominance of mosquitoes that we see now are infected with the West Nile virus," said Dallas County medical director Dr. Charles Perkins.

Perkins also explained how the disease comes from birds: Mosquitoes bite the infected birds and then bite humans.

The weather in North Texas this year is also ideal for a larger bird population.

Mosquito spraying operations will take place Wednesday night in North Dallas and the White Rock neighborhoods.

Highland Village will begin spraying at 10:30 p.m. in neighborhoods with a lot of mosquitoes.

Spraying will also take place in Benbrook.

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