The West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes in at least seven U.S. states, The Hill reports. Of these states where the potentially paralyzing disease has been found, four have reported cases of humans contracting the illness.
Best Life reported Wednesday that Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts and New York have reportedly found mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus. That same day, Colorado became the seventh state to detect the disease.
Officials for Colorado’s Weld County suspect that the number of mosquitoes, which is three times higher than usual this season, has become more widespread than in previous years because of hotter weather and rain.
Two groups of mosquitoes were found with West Nile virus late last month in Rockland County in New York. County Health Commissioner Patricia Schnabel Ruppert cited similar concerns about the season bringing about an increase in potential cases of the virus. “This typically the time of the year we expect to see a rise in West Nile virus activity, and these positive mosquito pools confirm that,” Ruppert said.
According to Best Life, people over the age of 50 have a higher risk of becoming severely ill from a West Nile virus-infected mosquito bite, resulting in “neurological diseases, and can also cause a milder flu-like illness, including fever, headache and body aches, nausea, and occasionally a skin rash and swollen lymph glands,” according to Best Life.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that of the states with West Nile-carrying mosquitoes, Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois and Iowa have confirmed cases in humans.