Overall Mesa Co. West Nile Cases Drop Dramatically In 2005

Although two new cases of human West Nile Virus have been detected in Mesa County this week, the overall number of people infected this year, compared to last, has dropped dramatically. Health department officials say that's because the number of infected mosquitoes is extremely low.

This time last year scientists were finding about 160 mosquitoes with West Nile for every 1,000 tested. This year, none of the mosquitoes trapped has tested positive for the disease that attacks the nervous system in mammals. The drop off is characteristic of what's happened nationwide one year after a major outbreak.

The virus originates in birds and scientists believe infected birds are either dying or have built up an immunity to the virus helping to slow the spread.

So far this year, three people have been diagnosed with West Nile Virus. Last yea,r 127 people had contracted the disease, four of them died as a result, but health officials say we're not out of the woods yet. The height of the season is Mid–August through early September.

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