West Nile Cases Rise, Patient Resources Made Available

August 30, 2012 - So far, 2012 is shaping up as a record year for cases of the West Nile virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In an August 29, 2012 press briefing, CDC officials confirmed that there have been 1,590 reported cases and 66 deaths attributed to the mosquito-born disease as of late August--higher than any past year on record for this time of year--and the toll is rising quickly. This week's figures represent a 40 percent increase in the number of cases and more than 60 percent increase in the number of deaths over the previous week. Since first identified in the United States in 1999, the worst full year for the disease was 2003, when 9,862 cases and 264 deaths were reported.

In response to the West Nile virus outbreak, the American Medical Association (AMA) is offering a free resource from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) to help the public and physicians obtain more information about the virus. The JAMA Patient Page on West Nile is designed to inform the public about transmission, symptoms, diagnosis, prevention and other sources of information about the virus.

“As the nation’s largest physician organization, the AMA is dedicated to promoting the betterment of public health,” said AMA President-elect Ardis D. Hoven, M.D. “This epidemic is a significant threat to public health, and it is our hope that patients and physicians can use this information to learn more about the virus and what can be done to prevent infection.”

According to the CDC, more than 30,000 people in the U.S. have been reported as getting sick with West Nile virus since 1999.  The CDC provides links to several resources for clinicians and patients on their West Nile Virus page.

Resources:

CDC's West Nile Virus Resources page - http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/clinicians/resources.htm

JAMA Patient Page on West Nile Virus - http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1355345


Sources: CDC, AMA.