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Encephalitis warning in the USA The battle to control mosquito-transmitted encephalitis has made national headlines Less than 1 in 1000 mosquitoes carry the disease and most people who contact the virus do not develop symptoms The virus causes an inflammation of the brain and produce headaches stiff neck fever and sometimes disorientation Some patients lapse into a comma The worst cases result in brain damage or death McGrath Those at risk are small children older people and those with weak immune systems Wilgoren The virus is believed to have arrived in southern New England each spring in the blood of migrating birds which then pass it to mosquitoes Now a field study of songbirds has found evidence that the virus never dies here at all but spends a comfortable winter inside the bodies of birds that live here year round That would mean the virus isnt a chance visitor to the state but a resident that makes an appearance every summer Woodside It is possible that the West Nile virus was transported here on jet plane from foreign climes most likely Africa or Asia through the blood of imported exotic birds or human travelers Population upheavals are key factors in the spread of disease and the fall of Communism and opening of borders this decade have led to one of the biggest global migrations ever More than 100 million people have migrated to other countries since 1988 Fritz It is a vector-borne disease To be transmitted to a human it needs a go-between probably the common house mosquito Woodside Scientist do know that jet travel transports germs around the globe in hours and a major port city such as New York also home to many immigrant populations and frequent world travelers is obvious landing spot Ferraro The New York outbreak has led 37 confirmed or suspected cases four deaths and concerns that migrating crows might spread an organism closely related to West Nile
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