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West Nile reaches West Coast

West Nile reaches West Coast

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- The number of human cases of West Nile virus reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has risen to 954, including an infection in a California woman that marks the first emergence of the mosquito-borne malady on the West Coast, the agency announced Saturday.

Los Angeles County health officials said Friday it was "highly likely" that the case of a young woman who developed meningitis in August but later recovered was due to West Nile. They are still investigating three other reported cases in the county that could be West Nile.

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So far this year, 43 people have died from the virus in 13 states, according to the CDC's figures. Human cases have now been reported in 30 states.

With the appearance of the virus in California, West Nile has now completed its sweep across the continental United States in just three years since its first detection in New York in 1999.

Only eight states -- Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Alaska and Hawaii -- have not reported human or animal cases.

Illinois and Louisiana are the hardest-hit states, with nine deaths in each. Illinois has 224 human cases, while Louisiana has 222.




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