West Nile Virus Outbreak Nears 700 Cases

Dr. Richard Besser discusses statistics surrounding surging number of cases.
3:00 | 08/16/12

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Transcript for West Nile Virus Outbreak Nears 700 Cases
Now, to a major red flag from the centers for disease control. A widespread nationwide outbreak of west nile virus. Almost 700 cases detected across the country thus far, including at least 26 deaths. Abc's dr. Richard besser has spent years working on deadly diseases with the cdc. And joins us now to discuss what we're talking about. Why so many cases this year? It is widespread. This is the worst year ever for west nile virus. They have 700 confirmed cases. From that, you can estimate as many as 12,000 people have already been sickened by west nile virus. It's in 43 states. Half of the cases are in texas. And the reason they think it's so bad this year, remember last winter there was very little snow. It wasn't very cold. You count on that cold to kill mosquitos. That didn't happen. Mosquitos this year are really abundant. You're talking about 12,000 people exposed at some point. What kind of people are hardest hit here? It's a little unusual. The people who tend to get this worse are people 50 and older, healthy, active, spending a lot of time outside. The young seem to handle this very well. 80% of people who get infected with the virus, absolutely no symptoms. They' their body gets rid of it. 20% will have flu-like symptoms. What you worry about is the 1 in 150, with neurologic symptoms. They have brain swelling. Quickly, in terms of precautionary measures people can take, what can you do? You have to prevent it. Don't want to go out dawn and dusk when mosquitos are active. Use repellent. Cover up during those periods and get rid of standing water that would attract mosquitos. That will all help. Thanks for that. Now, to the end of a

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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