According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there were more serious cases of West Nile Virus in 2005 than in previous years. Over the first 11 months of 2005, there were 385 more reported West Nile cases — 2,744 total — than during the same period in 2004. In 2004 there were 98 West Nile deaths and by Dec. 6, 2005, there were already 98 deaths. The 2005 West Nile virus season started in late May, peaked in the third week of August and kept going into November.

Generally, about four out of five people who get West Nile virus infection don't have symptoms. And about one in five will come down with West Nile fever. Less than one percent of West Nile infections become West Nile neuroinvasive disease (WNND), an infection of the brain and central nervous system.

Nearly a third of the 2005 cases were reported in California. Other focal points of serious diseases were Illinois, Texas and Louisiana.

However, people living in states with low populations had a greater chance of getting the West Nile virus. South Dakota reported the highest likelihood, where there were 4.8 cases of WNND per 100,000 residents. Other hot spots were Nebraska and North Dakota (2.1 and 1.9 WNND cases per 100,000 residents, respectively).

Source: The Center for Disease Control.

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