West Nile Virus  
The Bug

Outbreak in New York!!                  prepared by Amelia Myers

In September 1999, a virus surfaced in New York City that had never before been seen in the Western Hemisphere.

It was discovered following the death of a large number of birds at the Bronx zoo and in the New York City area, and the admission of city residents to New York hospitals experiencing similar symptoms. The patients were thought to have been suffering from viral encephalitis caused by the St. Louis encephalitis virus - a virus found in the USA.

Suspicions that the birds and the patients were somehow connected lead to the examination of blood samples and to the discovery of a virus very similar to the West Nile virus, a virus common in parts of the Eastern Hemisphere.

The same virus was later isolated from birds in New York State, Connecticut and New Jersey. In an effort to investigate and control the spread of this virus, federal, state and local health officials are carrying out several control and prevention measures.

Laboratory testing is currently underway to properly identify the virus, referred to at the moment as the 'West Nile-like' virus.




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