|A map of the cases of West Nile Virus in the United States in 2012 as of July 10, as compiled by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.|
DALLAS, Texas – The first West Nile Virus death has occurred in Dallas, leading Dallas County Health officials to call the disease activity in the area at an “epidemic level,” KENS5 in San Antonio reports.
Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zachary Thompson said during a news conference on July 16 that the county is seeing more cases of the virus than anywhere else in the United States this year, KENS5 reported. The deceased was a man in his 60s who lived near downtown Dallas, according to officials, and was the first fatal case in Dallas County since 2009.
As of July 10, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had reported Texas as the state with the highest cases of WNV, with six total. As of that date, no deaths had been reported nationwide.
According to those statistics, Mississippi comes in second so far with three total human cases reported.
KENS5 reports that the disease peaked in Dallas County in 2006, where over 100 people became infected and four died of the disease.
According to the CDC, two types of cases of WNV occur:
Neuroinvasive disease cases are severe cases that affect a person’s nervous system, and can cause encephalitis, inflammation of the brain; meningitis, an inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord; and acute flaccid paralysis, an inflammation of the spinal cord that can cause a sudden onset of weakness in the limbs or breathing muscles, according to the CDC.
Nonneuroinvasive disease cases are typically less severe and can cause West Nile fever, according to the CDC
A map documenting all human cases of WNV in the U.S., as of July 10, can be found here.