Calif. Records Second-Highest Number of West Nile Virus Cases
On Wednesday, California public health officials announced that in 2014 the state recorded the second-highest number of West Nile virus cases since 2003, when the virus first surfaced in California, the Los Angeles Times' "L.A. Now" reports.
Details of 2014 Outbreak
Officials said that 801 cases of West Nile virus were reported across the state in 2014. They noted that the highest recorded outbreak in the state occurred in 2005, with 880 cases.
According to "L.A. Now," 561 of the 801 affected individuals last year developed a more serious neurological form of the disease that can cause swelling of the brain (Rocha, "L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 4/8).
In total, 31 individuals across the state died as a result of the virus in 2014, marking an all-time high for California (Abram, Los Angeles Daily News, 4/8).
Officials said that the highest number of West Nile virus cases was reported in Orange County, with 282 infections (Perkes, Orange County Register, 4/9).
DPH officials said the high number of cases throughout California likely was due to the state's ongoing drought.
DPH Director Karen Smith said, "As birds and mosquitoes sought water, they came into closer contact and amplified the virus, particularly in urban areas" (Rocha, "L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 4/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.