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The BBC's Diane Tucker
"The two New York residents were taken to hospital, where they tested positive for the West Nile virus."
 real 28k

Saturday, 12 August, 2000, 23:30 GMT 00:30 UK
Two struck by West Nile virus
Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus
More virus carrying mosquitoes have been found this year
Health officials in New York say two more people have contracted the potentially deadly West Nile virus.

The officials said both had been infected on Staten Island before spraying restarted in July and were now recovering.

The victims are a 63-year-old man and a 63-year-old woman. A 78-year-old man also from Staten Island was infected earlier this year and made a full recovery.

Last year, seven people died in New York and more than 60 were infected, which had never before been seen in the Western Hemisphere.

The virus is found in birds and can be transmitted by mosquitoes to other birds or to humans.

Experts in 17 states are now on the lookout for the warning signs that the virus may be on the move into their area.

Precautions

Large areas of New York have already been sprayed with insecticide in an attempt to prevent an outbreak of illness.

Dead birds have been found in several areas around the city, along with infected mosquitoes in other parts of the Eastern US such as Connecticut and New Jersey.

The re-emergence of the virus this year has disappointed those who hoped that it might have been a freak visitor, unable to over-winter in the cold East Coast conditions.

It is not known whether extensive chemical spraying of New York City has had any impact on rates of other illnesses, such as skin conditions or respiratory problems.

New Yorkers have being urged to cover up and dose themselves in DEET repellent, even in the sweltering heat of the city's summer.

"It is critical that all New Yorkers, particularly the elderly and those who live on Staten Island, take precautions to reduce exposure to mosquitoes," said Health Commissioner Neal Cohen.

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25 Jul 00 | Americas
Virus scare shuts Central Park
24 Apr 00 | Americas
NYC targets deadly mosquitoes
04 Aug 00 | Health
Virus panic grips US east coast
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