New West Nile cases slowing in Minn.by Mark Steil, Minnesota Public Radio
WORTHINGTON, Minn. — The growth of new cases of West Nile Virus in Minnesota has started to slow down.
Health officials recorded just one new illness in the last week, compared to about eight a week in the preceding month. There have been 61 cases of the mosquito-borne illness this year in the state and one death.
Minnesota Health Department epidemiologist Dave Neitzel said it's unknown right now whether the virus will be a problem next year.
"No two years are alike," said Neitzel. "We need to see what the conditions are like next year. If we have another hot, dry year it might set the conditions for another West Nile outbreak."
The recent cool weather has slowed mosquito activity and accounts for the decline in new cases, Neitzel said.
"We think that most of the people that are going to be exposed to this virus this year probably already have been exposed to it," said Neitzel.
The Minnesota outbreak this year was the worst since 2007, when 101 cases were reported.