West Nile Virus Season In Full Swing

It's looking to be a bad season for West Nile Virus.

By Chris Roberts
|  Friday, Sep 14, 2012  |  Updated 3:12 PM PDT
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East Bay Woman Infected with West Nile

Jodi Hernandez

Mosquitoes carry the West Nile virus.

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How to Protect Against West Nile Virus

Cases of West Nile Virus have been reported in 47 states across the U.S., including 34 reported in California. Although we are seeing more cases than usual, health officials say it is not an epidemic. Still, they are urging people to take precautions against possible infections. Doctor Bruce Hensel reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Aug. 22, 2012.

East Bay Woman Infected with West Nile

An East Bay woman is the first Bay Area West Nile victim of the year. She is expected to recover.
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The Bay Area is in store for the "worst" West Nile virus season "in at least five years," according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Reports of the disease have doubled in parts of Contra Costa County, according to the newspaper. Five people have died statewide from infections this year.

2,600 cases have been reported nationwide, with 40 percent of them in Texas, according to federal health officials. In all, it's the "peak" of the virus since it arrived in the United States 13 years ago, according to the newspaper.

The typical West Nile virus season is from June to late September, but this year could last until October, the newspaper reported.

The virus is spread via mosquitoes, who carry the bug from an infected bird to a human. The virus is not passed from human to human, the newspaper said.

Flu-like symptoms are the most common sign of the disease, according to the newspaper. But in 1 percent of cases, meningits or encephalitis and then death can result, according to the newspaper.

"There is no treatment for West Nile virus," the newspaper warned.

The winter was warm and dry, which may have led to an influx of mosquitoes, the newspaper reported.

Stay away from dead birds and the biting bugs.

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