(AP) – Health officials say aggressive action after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita helped limit the impact of mosquito-borne illnesses.
Officials had worried that water left by the storms would offer
more breeding grounds and cause mosquito populations to explode.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says human cases of West Nile virus jumped 24 percent this year in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas.
But health officials are more concerned about West Nile cases that result in serious diseases like encephalitis and meningitis.
Those cases actually grew only 17 percent, more slowly than the national average.
A CDC epidemiologist says large-scale evacuation, pesticide
spraying and other efforts may have helped limit the hurricane
Overall, health officials say West Nile cases grew more than 16 percent in the U.S. this year.