West Nile virus expected to peak in August, September

U.S. public health officials recently said that there have been more reports of sickness related to the West Nile virus this year than at any other time since 2004.

There have been 241 reported human cases of the disease this year in 22 states, although most have occurred in Texas, near Dallas. Four people have died from the virus, according to Fox News.

Because August and September usually have the largest number of infections, it remains unclear how drastic the situation could become. Health officials said that the mild winter and early spring, followed by a long hot summer, have helped the mosquitoes that spread the virus to humans breed in large numbers.

"Unless the weather changes dramatically, we'll see more cases (in 2012) than we have in the last couple of years," Roger Nasci, the head of the division of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that tracks insect-borne illnesses, said, Fox News reports.

In 2004, 154 cases of West Nile neuroinvasive disease, the more serious and less common form, were reported by the end of July. This year, there have been 144 reported cases. Last year was considered a mild year, with fewer than 700 cases of West Nile fever, the less severe and more common form, and West Nile neuroinvasive disease combined.