In September 1999,
a virus surfaced in New York City that had never before been
seen in the Western Hemisphere.
It was discovered
following the death of a large number of birds at the Bronx
zoo and in the New York City area, and the admission of city
residents to New York hospitals experiencing similar symptoms.
The patients were thought to have been suffering from viral
encephalitis caused by the St. Louis encephalitis virus -
a virus found in the USA.
the birds and the patients were somehow connected lead to
the examination of blood samples and to the discovery of a
virus very similar to the West Nile virus, a virus common
in parts of the Eastern Hemisphere.
The same virus
was later isolated from birds in New York State, Connecticut
and New Jersey. In an effort to investigate and control the
spread of this virus, federal, state and local health officials
are carrying out several control and prevention measures.
is currently underway to properly identify the virus, referred
to at the moment as the 'West Nile-like' virus.