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CDC: West Nile virus illness continue to decline

4 years ago July 01, 2010 Jul 1, 2010 Thursday, July 01 2010 Thursday, July 01, 2010 10:37:29 AM EDT in News
Source: Associated Press

Last year's West Nile virus season was the mildest in eight years, and just one case of serious illness has
been reported so far this year.

U.S. health officials on Thursday said 386 cases of severe West Nile illness and 33 deaths were reported last year. That's a far cry from the peak years of 2002 and 2003, when severe illnesses numbered nearly 3,000 and deaths surpassed 260.

West Nile was first reported in the United States in 1999. It' s spread by mosquitoes that often pick up the virus from birds they bite. Most cases occur in July through September.

Cases may be dropping for a variety of reasons, including birds may be developing immunity to the virus.

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