more deaths from West Nile virus reported in Great Lakes
Region , if confirmed would boost toll to 22
13:26 PDT SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) --
death toll from the West Nile virus has doubled to four,
state health officials said Tuesday, the latest indication
that the mosquito-borne virus, once focused on the South,
is increasingly infecting people farther north.
by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the
deaths would raise the human toll to 22 nationwide.
Illinois fatalities were an 83-year-old man from Chicago,
who died Aug. 21, and a 92-year-old woman from the suburbs
north of the city who died Saturday.
West Nile encephalitis -- an inflammation of the brain
-- and the man also had other conditions that may have
contributed to his death, the Illinois Department of Public
this year, the CDC in Atlanta has reported 425 human cases
of West Nile in the country's worst outbreak since the
virus first was detected here in 1999. Seven people died
in New York that year, and the virus has since been found
in animals or humans in 41 states.
have been diagnosed with West Nile in 20 states and the
District of Columbia.
has been reported from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great
Lakes, but it has done most of its damage this year in
the South -- especially Louisiana, with 171 human cases
and eight deaths. Louisiana officials said last week they
believed the number of new cases there was decreasing,
while northern states have seen their numbers shoot up.
16, the CDC reported only about 4 percent of the human
West Nile cases, and none of the deaths, were outside
the South. By Monday, about 22 percent of the cases and
five of the deaths came from the Midwest and Northeast;
Illinois' fatalities, and 29 new human cases it announced
Monday and Tuesday, drive the percentage close to 30 percent.
On the Net:
Nile Virus: www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/surv&control.htm;