West Nile 2004: Mostly Good News!

Last year, West Nile Virus was big news, and for good reason. It was the second year of the virus outbreak, but was the first year it had really spread from the northeast into the rest of the US (I’m working from memory here, so that timeline may be off).

As predected, the bulk of the cases, and the biggest increases, are those states to the west of the hardest hit states last year. California and Arizona got hit hardest with both the highest totals and the biggest increases:

Total cases 2003 2004
Arizona &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 13 &nbsp &nbsp 369
California &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 3 &nbsp &nbsp 563

The good news is the drop in cases in most states. A sample:

&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 2003 2004
Colorado &nbsp 2947 &nbsp 225
Nebraska &nbsp 942 &nbsp &nbsp 22
Texas &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 720 &nbsp &nbsp 78

Let’s not get complacent. WNV is here to stay in the US, just another endemic disease. The cause of the drop in cases is no doubt multifactorial, including more emphasis on mosquito control, personal protection (DEET, etc.) and just the normal tidal-wave crest of cases with a new disease.

Anecdotally, I’ve ordered WNV testing twice this year, a huge drop from last year, so my experience correlates with this data.

Some links:
CDC West Nile Page
WNV data 2003 and 2004
USGS map of WNV activity

also posted to LingualNerve