West Nile cases keep growing in Wisconsin, nation - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

West Nile cases keep growing in Wisconsin, nation

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Wisconsin this year has seen the most human West Nile virus cases since 2002, after recent years of very few West Nile cases.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper on Friday cited Department of Natural Resources numbers, which show the state's West Nile virus count is now 23 probable cases and two confirmed, up from 12 probable and one confirmed just two weeks ago.

That makes 2012 Wisconsin's most active West Nile season since 2002, when there were 48 cases.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reports two deaths from probable cases of West Nile virus. However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not yet conclusively linked the deaths to West Nile virus.

The department tells WISN-TV in Milwaukee that one death was a 78-year-old Milwaukee County woman and the other was a 71-year-old Waukesha County woman.

Nationwide, the CDC case count has grown to 3,142, with 134 deaths, many of them in Texas. 

Health officials say they're convinced this will be the worst year for West Nile virus deaths and severe illnesses since the disease hit America's shores in 1999. 2002 was the worst year on record, with nearly 3,000 severe illnesses and 284 West Nile deaths.

Most people have no symptoms, or mild symptoms including fever, headache or muscle pain  

Wisconsin's first true cold snap will bring relief. It takes a killing frost to take out the mosquitoes that spread the virus.

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