Will Isaac cause West Nile boom?

Expert weighs in on the possibility

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HOUSTON - Federal health officials said they do not expect the West Nile virus rates to worsen because of Hurricane Isaac.

A doctor with the Centers for Disease Control who works to track vector-borne illnesses like West Nile and Eastern Equine Encephalitis spoke Wednesday.

Doctor Lyle R. Petersen said while hurricanes can produce a lot of standing water, they also "disrupt the entire ecology of an area."

Dr. Peterson went on to say, "the disruption interrupts the natural transmission cycle between birds and mosquitoes."

Mosquitoes generally contract the West Nile virus when they suck blood from infected birds.

The year Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, there was an uptick in West Nile cases, but Peterson said that was likely because more people were outdoors and exposed to mosquitoes.

So far in 2012, Texas has had 894 human cases of West Nile.

Thirty-five of those victims lost their lives.

Politicians, health department heads, and health care workers will meet at Lyndon Banes Johnson Hospital Thursday afternoon for an "Emergency Preparedness Information Briefing."

They will talk about options for responding and managing the growth of West Nile in Texas.

Copyright 2012 by Click2Houston.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.