West Nile cases still on rise


SALEM, Ohio – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to work with state and local health departments to help control West Nile virus.

As of Sept. 6, Ohio has had 1,889 reports of the disease, including 75 human and 55 equine cases.

Northeastern Ohio has been hardest hit with the virus, and has reported 37 equine cases, including 15 in Holmes County and 13 in Wayne County.

Only Fayette County in the southwestern part of the state has no reported cases of the virus’ invasion.

Keystone data. In Pennsylvania, just one human laboratory-positive case has been identified, along with seven equine cases, according to officials in the departments of health and agriculture.

Reports last Friday indicated the latest equine positives in Lawrence, Union, Berks and Bucks counties.

Other counties with horses tested positive include Lycoming, Lancaster and Mifflin.

National numbers. Across the nation, 998 cases of equine West Nile virus have been verified, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

States hardest hit include South Dakota, 177; North Dakota, 175; Texas, 159; Mississippi, 76; Illinois, 61; Indiana, 56; Kentucky, 56; and Florida, 51.

Human effects. According to the national center, 43 human fatalities have been reported in 28 states this year.

The center expects numbers to continue to escalate in the coming weeks as transmission season peaks in different parts of the country.

In addition, work continues with the Food and Drug Administration, government agencies, and the Georgia and Florida departments of health to investigate a cluster of cases of the infection through transplantation of organs from one donor.

So far, three people who received organs from a single donor have been diagnosed with encephalitis due to the virus; one has died and the other two are recovering in the hospital.

Also, a fourth organ recipient has tested positive by the Florida Department of Health and has been diagnosed with West Nile virus fever, a milder form of the infection.

As a precaution, remaining blood products from donors of blood given to the organ donor as well as to the organ recipients have been voluntarily withdrawn from use.

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