HOUSTON, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- There have been at least 46 deaths from West Nile virus in Texas this year, local media reported Friday.
The latest deaths were reported in Dallas County and El Paso County on Thursday, with each county confirming one West Nile virus death, according to local TV channel ABC13.
Amid a nationwide outbreak of West Nile virus cases, Texas is the worst hit state.
The state is seeing the worst year ever for West Nile virus, reporting almost 45 percent of the nation's total West Nile cases, and about half of the deaths.
Latest figures show that West Nile virus cases reported in Texas so far this year totaled 1,013, more than doubling the previous high, among which are at least 523 cases of neuroinvasive West Nile, the most serious form of the illness because it affects the nervous system.
In 2003, Texas recorded 439 neuroinvasive cases.
The number of West Nile virus cases reported across the United States as of early September is also the highest since the disease was discovered in the country in 1999, federal officials said.
As of Sept. 4, 2012, 48 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds or mosquitoes. Over 70 percent of the cases have been reported from six states, namely Texas, South Dakota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Michigan.
Earlier this month, health officials in Oklahoma also said the state had broken its record for West Nile virus cases in a single year.
First identified in Uganda in 1937, West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne illness that leads to serious neurological disease in some cases. Its symptoms include sudden onset of fever, headache, nausea, dizziness and muscle weakness.