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West Nile cases break state record

By Sherry Koonce
Sept. 5, 2012 at 11 p.m.

With weeks left to go before cooler temperatures drive mosquitoes away, Texas is reporting the highest number of West Nile cases ever.

Latest statistics released by the Texas Department of State Health Services indicated the state exceeded 1,000 confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne illness during the first week of September.

Texas leads the nation in the number of people afflicted by the deadly disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday. Forty-three people have died from the disease in the state.

Longview mosquito crews efforts to combat the illness with increased fogging in all parts of the city will continue, likely until the end of the month, Shawn Hara, Longview spokesperson, said.

Mosquito season typically is over when temperatures dip below 70 and stay there, Hara said.

Crews on Tuesday altered the city's spraying routine to include only morning sprayings, scheduled from 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Thursdays.

Evening spraying is no longer scheduled daily, he said. Instead, the evening hours will be used mainly for targeted spraying, and to make up for bad weather days that interfere with scheduled morning fogging.

The same amount of spraying is done each day because evening crews are now spraying parts of the city in the morning hours, Hara said.

"I think spraying is an important piece of an overall prevention effort, but the really big piece of prevention is the individual efforts made by Longview residents," Hara said.

In East Texas the numbers have not changed much since Friday, though there is an additional case of the more severe neuroinvasive disease in Rusk County, and one more case of the less severe West Nile fever in Harrison County, officials said Wednesday.

Gregg County numbers remained unchanged from Friday, when a total of 16 cases were reported, with one death.

Most West Nile cases are in the Dallas area, where 286 cases were confirmed Wednesday. Thirteen people have died from the virus in the Dallas area.

The 1,993 cases reported thus far this year are the highest amount of West Nile virus disease cases reported to the CDC through the first week of September since the virus was first detected in the U.S. in 1999.

Forty-eight states have reported cases of the virus in people, birds or mosquitoes, including Texas, where 45 percent of the nation's cases have occurred.

Nearly half of the West Nile U.S. deaths so far this year have been in Texas.

<h3>West Nile by the numbers</h3> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td><strong>Counties</strong></td> <td><strong>Deaths</strong></td> <td><strong>Neuroinvasive</strong></td> <td><strong>Fever</strong></td> <td><strong>Total cases</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Angelina</td> <td>0</td> <td>7</td> <td>3</td> <td>10</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Bowie</td> <td>0</td> <td>4</td> <td>3</td> <td>7</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Dallas</td> <td>13</td> <td>147</td> <td>134</td> <td>281</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Denton</td> <td>2</td> <td>35</td> <td>76</td> <td>111</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Gregg</td> <td>1</td> <td>10</td> <td>6</td> <td>16</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Harrison</td> <td>0</td> <td>2</td> <td>0</td> <td>2</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Henderson</td> <td>0</td> <td>1</td> <td>1</td> <td>2</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Kaufman</td> <td>0</td> <td>8</td> <td>2</td> <td>10</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Panola</td> <td>1</td> <td>1</td> <td>1</td> <td>2</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Rusk</td> <td>0</td> <td>4</td> <td>1</td> <td>5</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Smith</td> <td>0</td> <td>7</td> <td>2</td> <td>9</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Tarrant</td> <td>4</td> <td>86</td> <td>120</td> <td>206</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Upshur</td> <td>0</td> <td>1</td> <td>1</td> <td>2</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Van Zandt</td> <td>0</td> <td>2</td> <td>4</td> <td>6</td> </tr> <tr> <td><strong>Statewide</strong></td> <td>43</td> <td><strong>484</strong></td> <td><strong>497</strong></td> <td><strong>981</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="4"><strong><em>Source:</em></strong> Texas Department of State Health Services</td> </tr> </tbody> </table>



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