ATLANTA (AP/WUSA) - U.S. health officials say there's been an alarming increase in the number of West Nile cases.
The District of Columbia Department of Health (DOH) has identified the West Nile Virus in several mosquito samples throughout the District, and reports there has been only been one confirmed (nonfatal) case of West Nile Virus in D.C.
So far, there have been more than 1,100 cases of the sometimes deadly virus reported through the middle of August. That's three times as many as usually seen at this point in the year. Most West Nile infections are reported in August and September.
About half the cases are in Texas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the new numbers Wednesday. They say the mild winter, early spring and very hot summer have fostered mosquito breeding. Mosquitoes pick up the virus from birds and then spread it to people.
West Nile virus was first reported in the United States in 1999.
To reduce mosquito pools in and around homes, residents are reminded to take proactive precautionarymeasures to prevent mosquito bites, which can transmitWest Nile Virus. The D.C. Department of Health recommends eliminating all standing water, and paying closeattention to roof gutters, flushing bird baths and storing pet food and waterbowls inside the home. The Department of Health says it will continue to samplethe District's mosquito pools throughout the summer and early fallmonths.