2003 West Nile Virus Deaths Down from 2002



With more awareness about the West Nile Virus, the total deaths in 2003 were down from 2002, even while the total number of reported cases increased.

In 2002 there were a total of 284 deaths by October, the end of the main West Nile Virus season. Most of those cases took place between August and October. There were 4,156 total reported cases.

The ending totals by the end of 2003 for the 2003 season were:

8,912 infected humans
211 deaths resulting from the virus

These are actually the types of results that most were expecting. Most doctors felt that many cases of West Nile Virus were missed in previous years because medical professionals did not know how to watch for the disease. With so much information out about it this year, most cases should have been caught and not misdiagnosed. At the same time, with more cases being caught early and properly diagnosed, the chances of helping people increased dramatically.

This virus was first seen in Uganda in 1937, and only came to the US around 5 years ago. It is primarily spread by mosquito bite. Even though the chance of being bitten by a mosquito infected with West Nile is as remote as being struck by lightining, it always pays to take basic precautions to keep from being bitten.

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