The number of new West Nile virus cases continues to rise.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the death toll now stands at 168, up from 163 last week.
As October 9th, 48 states had reported West Nile infections in people, birds or mosquitoes.
The total 4,249 West Nile cases involving people so far this year is the highest since 2003.
In Alabama, there are 31 cases of West Nile human infections.
Twenty-four are classified as neuroinvasive disease such as meningitis or encephalitis, and seven are referred to as a less severe West Nile fever. One Alabamian has died of WNV.
Seventy percent of the cases have been reported from eight states -- Texas, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Michigan, Louisiana, Illinois and California -- and over a third of all cases have been in Texas.