THIS chilling map shows the deadly spread of the West Nile virus as it continues to rage across America and claim lives.
At least 19 people have died this year after being infected with the mosquito-borne disease as scientists brand the virus an “endemic”.
Tiny numbers of infections have been reported in states including California, New York, Washington, and Louisiana – but at least 85 cases have been reported in Maricopa County, Arizona this year alone.
It is the highest figure of any county, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And, local health officials fear that there have been more than 100 infections this year, Fox 10 reports.
There have been four deaths but health officials are becoming increasingly worried that the figure could rise following the monsoon season to hit the state.
Stagnant water has created the perfect breeding ground, AZ Family reports.
Officials say the virus is being detected in a record number of mosquitoes tested.
More than 600 of the insects sampled have tested positive – up from just 10 last year.
Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control have branded the virus “endemic” meaning it is commonly found in America.
Not all states appear to be affected by the West Nile Virus as CDC boffins have not reported infections in Florida, North Carolina, and Kentucky.
But it doesn’t mean that the virus isn’t circulating.
At least 19 people have died after contracting the West Nile virus this year.
Maricopa resident Donald Streets, 86, died on Friday after possibly contracting the mosquito-borne disease while sitting on his back porch, his son told ABC15.
Los Angeles County reported its first death from the disease on Friday.
An unnamed resident passed away after being admitted to hospital, ABC7 reported.
LA County Health Officer Muntu Davis said: “West Nile virus can be a serious health threat to people who get infected.”
North Dakota reported its first West Nile virus death on September 10, and Nebraska has reported two fatalities.
Both individuals who died in Nebraska had underlying health conditions.
The state’s health officials issued an alert, warning that “the cases statewide have already exceeded the number of cases last year,” according to KETV.
Utah, Arkansas, New Jersey, Idaho, and South Dakota have each reported one death from the virus.
Meanwhile, two people have died from the virus in Colorado and Texas.
Additionally, 43 states have reported cases of the virus in animals or humans.
Lawmakers are calling on Americans to take action to reduce the spread of the infection.
Hurricane Ida has been used to explain the rise in the number of mosquitoes in recent months.
Shawn M. LaTourette, of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, said: “We are seeing an increase in mosquitos at present due to the recent flooding from Ida.”
There is no cure for the virus so Americans have been told to regularly drain containers of standing water and clogged gutters.
Health officials have also encouraged people to wear long-sleeved shirts when out and avoid being outside during dawn and dusk, according to NJ Spotlight.
New York senator Chuck Schumer called on the federal government to help the state control mosquitos, FOX5 reported.
This is actually one of the worst mosquito seasons that we have had in recent memory
He said: “This is actually one of the worst mosquito seasons that we have had in recent memory.”
“Even more concerning, these mosquitoes can spread the deadly West Nile Virus.”
Schumer added that more than 1,000 pools of stagnant water in New York City have tested positive for the West Nile Virus.
“The health department told the media that these numbers break the 2018 record for the entire mosquito season,” he said.
He feared that global warming could see the mosquito season extended until November.
New York City has reported cases of West Nile virus in all of its five boroughs.
The West Nile virus is a non-contagious illness first discovered in the West Nile district of Uganda in 1937.
Approximately 80 percent of sufferers have no symptoms, but some can develop mild flu-like symptoms, a skin rash, and could experience nausea.
Vulnerable patients and those aged over 50 can become seriously ill.
Serious infection can cause patients to experience muscle weakness, confusion, paralysis, and seizures, according to the WHO.
Officials at the Centers for Disease Control say symptoms can persist for three-14 days.
Mild cases do not usually require any treatment, although critical cases can require medical assistance.
In rare cases, the virus can develop into meningitis and encephalitis.
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