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Friday, August 17, 2012

Experts Keep Watch On West Nile Virus

A plane for aerial spraying in Dallas. The last time Dallas used aerial spraying to curb the mosquito population, Texas’ Lyndon Johnson was in the White House. (AP)

Insecticide spraying is continuing in the Dallas area, the nation’s hotspot for the mosquito-borne West Nile virus.

So far, nearly 200 people have been infected and 10 have died in Dallas County. The mayor of Dallas has declared a state of emergency.

Officials in Michigan have announced the state’s first fatality: an elderly woman in Washtenaw County. Louisiana has had six deaths, the only other state besides Texas with more than one death.

Cases are on the rise in Chicago. Here in Massachusetts a man in his 60s has become the first person diagnosed with the disease this year. Human infections are at their highest since 1999 when the virus was first found in the U.S. At least 26 people have died so far this year from West Nile virus.

Guest:

  • Dr. William Schaffner, infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University in Nashville

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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