TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 2018

West Nile virus outbreak the largest ever reported in the U.S.

New numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have revealed that the recent West Nile virus outbreak is the largest ever reported in the United States.

The number of infections for 2012 through August are the highest recorded since the disease was first detected in the United States in 1999. A total of 38 states reported human infections as of this week, CNN reports.

A total of 1,118 cases were reported as of Tuesday, with 41 deaths. An additional three deaths have since been reported in Arkansas, Michigan and Mississippi this week.

Approximately 75 percent of the cases have been reported in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Dakota and Oklahoma, with Texas the hardest hit. Texas has reported 586 confirmed cases and 21 deaths.

"The peak of West Nile virus epidemics usually occurs in mid-August, but it takes a couple of weeks for people to get sick, go to the doctor and get reported," Dr. Lyle Petersen, the director of the CDC's Vector-Borne Infectious Disease Division, said, according to CNN. "Thus we expect many more cases to occur."

Petersen could not account for the higher than usual number of cases but said that unusually warm weather may have played a role in creating favorable conditions for the disease to transfer to humans.