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CDC: Hurricane Issac will not increase number of West Nile cases

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says Hurricane Issac will not increase the number of West Nile virus cases, adding that they agency will push forward with plans to assist states combating the effects of Issac.

The CDC, in a statement issued Friday, says that it is prepared to extend assistance to states impacted by the storm, warning that large amounts of standing water could provide misquotes with additional breeding grounds. While the agency says that it does not expect any immediate increase in the number of cases, officials noted that residents should remain wary.

“Heavy rainfall can certainly eliminate breeding sites rather create them,” said CDC Dr. Lyle Petersen told reporters in a conference call. “The end result is that hurricanes and floods do not have a major impact.”

The CDC offer comes as nearly 1,600 infections have been reported and 66 people have died. The number of cases is the largest amount recorded in U.S. history.

“As of August 28, 2012, 48 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. A total of 1,590 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 66 deaths, have been reported to CDC,” the agency says. “Over 70 percent of the cases have been reported from six states (Texas, South Dakota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Michigan) and over 45 percent of all cases have been reported from Texas.”

Health officials think that cases have peaked or are peaking now, but likely will continue through October. The disease first appeared in the United States in 1999, and health officials say the hot and dry summer weather may be responsible for the current boom in cases. Texas remains the state seeing the highest number of reported cases, up 45 percent overall. David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services says the state has had 783 cases with 31 deaths.

Hurricane Isaac made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 80 miles per hour. The hurricane came ashore just southwest of the Mississippi River, about 95 miles from New Orleans, Louisiana.