West Nile Virus Teleconference from CDC

ATLANTA, July 30 -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) held a telebriefing on July 25, 2002 in regard to the recent developments regarding the West Nile virus in the United States.

Dr. Daniel O'Leary, from the CDC provided the following information during the CDC telebriefing which we at MedicineNet.com consider important and wish to share with you.

Summary of the CDC Telebriefing

During 2002, West Nile virus activity was reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 25 states, New York City, and the District of Columbia.

There have been a total of 12 human cases of brain infection with West Nile. All of those cases were reported from Louisiana and Mississippi: eleven from Louisiana and one from Mississippi. Among these cases, eight were men. The range of ages was 34 to 88 years, and their dates of onset of illness ranged from June 10th to July 11th. None of these 12 cases are fatalities.

Additionally, there have been three states -- North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Texas -- that have reported their first-ever West Nile Virus activity, but so far only in birds, horses, and mosquitoes, with no human cases. The spread to these three latter states -- North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Texas -- demonstrate that West Nile virus is continuing to move Westward in the United States.

Dead Birds

Next, dead birds, particularly blue jays and crows, remain the most important indicators of West Nile virus activity in a given region, and their collection and testing by state and local health departments should be a mainstay in these jurisdictions' surveillance programs. The capture and testing of mosquitoes is, additionally, very important as a mainstay of state-level surveillance, and additionally, surveillance for West Nile Virus in horses and other equines has proven a valuable surveillance tool to indicate the early earning of West Nile activity in select areas.

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