Diease in the News

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Disease in the News
West Nile Virus

Disease in the News – West Nile Virus The West Nile virus made its deadly debut in New York City September 27, 1999. The virus had never been seen in the Western Hemisphere of the United States. It is said to be usually found in Africa and Europe. When it made its debut, it was first believed to have been the St. Louis encephalitis. Experts at the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have confirmed the virus to be West Nile. Nearly twice as many people in the New York region have been stricken by the mosquito borne illness as earlier recognized (Fish, 1999). The outbreak of the West Nile had New Yorkers shocked that a mosquito bite could be so deadly. During the time of the outbreak, there were 37 confirmed cases of the West Nile virus in New Yorkers. Twenty-five of these New Yorkers were from New York City, eight from Westchester County, and four from Nassau County. Although there are confirmed cases, 162 cases were still under investigation and eight deaths had doctors still studying the tissue and blood of the victims (Albany Times Union, 1999). There are 70 types of mosquitoes living in New York, but only 30 of them carry the virus. The West Nile virus outbreak stemmed from prolonged drought, which produced a large supply of the northern house mosquito, Culex pipiens. The Culex pipiens lives near people but generally feeds on birds. This particular mosquito is efficient at transmitting certain viruses from birds to humans. The Culex pipiens mosquito likes stagnant water with rotting leaves. This helps to provide food in abundance for its larvae. In New York City, the storm-sewer catch basins are a popular breeding area for the mosquitoes and can be found on nearly every street corner. Heavy and frequent rains usually flush out these basins. Alternatively little rainfall…...

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