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West Nile Virus Found in Maryland

September 22, 2000

BALTIMORE (AP) _ State officials announced plans for insecticide spraying in central Maryland after two dead crows found in the region tested positive for West Nile virus, the first time that the virus was detected in the state this year.

The infected birds were found in Relay, about 10 miles south of Baltimore, on Sept. 13 and in nearby Columbia, midway between Baltimore and Washington, on Sept. 15, Dr. Georges Benjamin, secretary of the state health department, said Thursday. No one in Maryland has been infected, but one infected bird was found last year.

The mosquito-borne virus also has also been found in birds in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Eleven people have been diagnosed with the virus in New York City and one in New Jersey. None has died.

The virus is commonly carried by bloodsucking mosquitoes, which transmit the virus through bites. Infection may result in encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, or meningitis, an inflammation of the brain’s lining and the spinal cord.

Last summer, during the first known appearance of the West Nile virus in the Western Hemisphere, seven people died and 62 others were infected in the New York metropolitan area.

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On the Net:

Maryland Department of Agriculture: http://www.mda.state.md.us/geninfo/genera9.htm

Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: http://www.dhmh.state.md.us

Centers for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm

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