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Quick Uptakes
October 25, 2000

Virus Heading South

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JAMA. 2000;284(16):2048. doi:10.1001/jama.284.16.2048-JQU00008-2-1

An expert has confirmed that West Nile virus has spread from New York into Pennsylvania and Maryland, with the potential to travel much farther south and west.

"The fall migration of millions of birds from and through the 400-mile-wide infected region in the northeastern United States may move West Nile virus southward along the Atlantic and Gulf coast states," said Robert McLean, PhD, director of the US Geological Survey's National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis. During a news teleconference late last month in Reston, Va, McLean noted that West Nile virus has been isolated from more than 63 species of birds, including 53 free-ranging species from eight states. "That means it's not a matter of if, but when, the virus will move south," he said.