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West Nile virus outbreak claims 42 lives in U.S.

(Xinhua)

08:20, August 23, 2012

WASHINGTON, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- U.S. health authorities on Wednesday said the recent West Nile virus outbreak is the largest ever experienced in the country, and warned it could get worse.

According to new numbers announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a telephone news briefing, 38 U.S. states had reported a combined 1,118 human infections of the lethal virus as of Tuesday, of which, 41 people have died. That toll rose to 42 on Wednesday when a new death was reported in the state of Arkansas.

The number of infection cases this year is the biggest recorded through August since the disease was first detected in the United States in 1999.

Dr. Lyle Petersen, director of the CDC's Vector-Borne Infectious Disease Division, said the reason for the high number of infection cases this year is unclear, but unusually warm weather could have fostered favorable conditions for the mosquito- borne virus' spreading to humans.

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