By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

In a follow-up on the rise of human West Nile virus cases in Maricopa County, Arizona this year, health officials report an additional 16 cases.


This brings the case tally to 123 to date. This compares with the seven cases reported to date last year and 24 cases seen in all of 2018.

Seven fatalities have also been reported.

West Nile virus is typically spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Although it can cause severe disease, only about 1 in 5 of those infected will develop any symptoms at all. Those who do develop symptoms usually experience a flu-like illness including fever, headache, body aches and muscle weakness.

Rarely, about 1 in 150 people infected can develop meningitis or encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.  This more severe form of the disease typically presents with high fever, headache, neck stiffness, and paralysis.  These severe cases can lead to permanent paralysis or death. Those who are over 60 years old, have underlying medical conditions or depressed immune systems are at higher risk for the more severe form of West Nile virus.

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