ATLANTA (AP) -- U.S. health officials say there's been an alarming increase in the number of West Nile cases.

So far, there have been more than 1,100 cases of the sometimes deadly virus reported through the middle of August. That's three times as many as usually seen at this point in the year. Most West Nile infections are reported in August and September.

About half the cases are in Texas.

Va. Dept. of Health spokesman Larry Hill told that there have been two human cases in the state this year - in Southwest and Northwest Virginia. Neither person died, he stated.

West Nile has been confirmed in mosquito pools. according to officials in several Hampton Roads localities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the new numbers Wednesday. They say the mild winter, early spring and very hot summer have fostered mosquito breeding. Mosquitoes pick up the virus from birds and then spread it to people.

Va. health officials say you can help reduce the West Nile Virus risk by emptying water-holding containers in your yard, disposing of used tires, clearing roof gutters and downspouts, cleaning wading and swimming pools and draining water from tarps.

They also recommend staying inside during the times of highest mosquito activity - an hour before dusk to an hour before dawn, wearing loose, long and light-colored clothing when outdoors and using insect repellents containing DEET.

West Nile virus was first reported in the United States in 1999.

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