Officials have confirmed
that more that 50 percent
of pets in communities
tested were found to
have the Virus.
On average over the past 10 years nine encephalitis cases
were reported annually, and 172 meningitis. This year was
on track. Nothing appeared abnormal in 1999.
Fortunately, an alert infectious-disease doctor
working in a Queens hospital called the city Health
Department Aug. 23 because he saw two encephalitis cases
with unusual symptoms. Mostashari credited the physician
with starting the entire investigation, and he noted that
none of the other cases discovered through the CDC
and New York City Department of Investigation were
originally reported by physicians, even though they are
legally required to file encephalitis notifications. He also
said that wherever spraying was begun, no new cases were
seen from that day onward.

By Laurie Garrett

When spring 2000 thaws ... the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention will conduct a national surveillance
of dying birds in hopes of determining if the West Nile
Virus that caused the encephalitis epidemic in New York
is broader based. Live chickens will be placed in cages
around mosquito infested areas to see if they get infected ...
Mosquitoes will be captured and tested. And all hospitals
and physicians in the region will be told in "the strongest
possible terms" to immediately report suspected
encephalitis or meningitis cases.
The idea to do a national survey came about after
investigators found that an extraordinary 52 percent of live
birds captured and tested in Queens in September and
October 1999 , including a wide range of migratory types,
were infected with the African virus. Overall, 59 people
were confirmed as having West Nile Virus encephalitis as of
Nov. 1, and the disease killed seven for a fatality rate of just
under 12 percent.
Forty-three confirmed as infected lived in New
York City, nine in Westchester, six in Nassau and one was
a Canadian. (one from Manhattan). The median age of the
victims was found to be 71, with cases ranging from age 5
to age 90 ... with symptoms of meningitis and encephalitis.
The true scale of the epidemic was determined by scouring
hospital records, the city morgue, all lab samples of spinal
fluids examined for other reasons, doctors' office records
and dozens of other sources.
New York Newsday
November 10, 1999

Vigilant on Virus
"Officials to monitor

Commentary: Also "from that
day onward"
suddenly it got
unseasonably cool sending the
mosquitoes into hibernation.
Equation: Infected birds in the Northeast United States go south to South America.
Uninfected birds from West Coast America and Canada migrate to South America where
they interact with certain infected birds. Then they all return to both, the East Coast and
West Coast. Spin Doctors disinformation would risk the lives of their own families and
- Admit one -
Photo credit:
Michael E. Ach
November 10, 1999
Vigilant On Virus
Use Wisdom, not ignorance.
Officials have confirmed
that more that 50 percent
of pets in communities
tested were found to
have the Virus.
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