Summer may be winding down but concerns over the West Nile virus are growing in Michigan after a second death and 18 more cases have been reported this week.
The Michigan Department of Community Health released figures showing two deaths and 41 cases so far this season. Last week officials said an elderly woman in Washtenaw County died from West Nile, the other death happened in the city of Detroit but further details were not released.
The cases of the virus span several counties, including nine in Wayne, eight in Macomb, six in Oakland and seven in the city of Detroit. And it's not just a problem in the state of Michigan.
Federal officials have reported four times the usual number of cases in the current U.S. West Nile outbreak. That includes 1,118 illnesses and 41 deaths nationwide. Typically, fewer than 300 cases are reported by mid-August.
Experts think the mild winter, early spring and very hot summer helped stimulate mosquito breeding and the spread of the virus. Mosquitoes pick up the virus from birds they bite and then pass it on to people.
Only about 1 in 5 infected people get sick. Early symptoms can include fever, headache and body aches. Some recover in a matter of days. But 1 in 150 infected people will develop severe symptoms including neck stiffness, disorientation, coma and paralysis.
Experts say the best way to prevent West Nile disease is to avoid mosquito bites. Insect repellents, screens on doors and windows, and wearing long sleeves and pants are some of the recommended strategies. Also, empty standing water from buckets, kiddie pools and other places to discourage breeding.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.