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West Nile Virus May Hit This Summer

Something else to worry about — state health officials are warning that the lethal West Nile virus may make it to California this summer. Last year — 274 Americans died in the worst outbreak of the mosquito-borne encephalitis ever recorded in this country. The disease first appeared in the U-S in New York City with 62 cases and seven deaths in 1999.

California´s experts say they believe it´s only a matter of time before the first cases begin to appear — probably late this summer or early in the fall. The virus has killed crows, songbirds and horses by the thousands. Federal officials reported almost 15,000 cases among horses across the country last year — and five thousand either died or were put down. Officials say they are very concerned because the mosquito which most commonly carries the virus is common in California in the summer months.