The West Nile virus has officially been dubbed an “outbreak” and is the largest of its kind in the United States.

Warm weather could be to blame for creating a perfect storm of favorable conditions for the disease’s transfer to humans.


According to new numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of cases so far this year is the highest recorded through August since the disease was first detected in the United States in 1999. As of August 21, 38 states had reported human infections. The cases reported to the CDC total 1,118, including 41 deaths.

“The peak of West Nile virus epidemics usually occurs in mid-August, but it takes a couple of weeks for people to get sick, go to the doctor and get reported,” said Dr. Lyle Petersen, the director of the CDC’s Vector-Borne Infectious Disease Division. “Thus we expect many more cases to occur.”

75% of the cases are in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Dakota and Oklahoma, however, cases in California have also been diagnosed.