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Md. Finds First West Nile Infection

May 25, 2001

BALTIMORE (AP) _ A dead crow found in the city has tested positive for the West Nile virus, the state’s first confirmed case this year, public health officials said.

The virus, which killed two people last year, has also been detected this year in several other Eastern states. The disease usually causes only flu-like symptoms but can be fatal for some older people or those with weakened immune systems.

The bird was one of 94 tested this year by state health authorities. Dr. Peter Beilenson, the city’s health commissioner, said it was found on May 18.

``Since this was before the migratory season, this was probably from an over-wintering mosquito,″ Beilenson said Thursday. The disease is spread by mosquitoes.

Beilenson said earlier this month that the city would not spray for mosquitoes if an infected bird was found. ``There are ecological consequences about spraying. West Nile to date has simply not been a public health hazard. We haven’t had a single human case (in Maryland),″ Beilenson said.

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On the Net:

http://www.ci.baltimore.md.us/government/health/

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