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Massachusetts Health Officials Launch Aggressive Detection Efforts for Mosquitoes Carrying West Nile VirusAired April 12, 2000 - 2:28 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Public health officials in Massachusetts are hoping to prevent an outbreak of the West Nile Virus to their state. The mosquito-borne virus has already been found in at least three other states.
Reporter Anthony Everett (ph) from CNN affiliate WCVB has a report now on a program designed to stop the spread of this dangerous virus.
ANTHONY EVERETT, WCVB REPORTER (voice-over): Hoping to avoid scenes like this from New York last year, Massachusetts health officials are launching an aggressive detection efforts for mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus.
HOWARD KOH, PUBLIC HEALTH COMMISSIONER: To date, we have not found the virus anywhere in the commonwealth. On the other hand, we need to be ever vigilant, we need to be proactive.
EVERETT: The mosquito-borne virus seen in Africa, Europe and Asia, it was detected in the U.S. for the first time last year in Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland and New York. There were 60 cases in humans, seven fatal.
ALFRED DEMARIA JR., DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Most people with the West Nile Virus infection, do not develop severe illness. In fact, most people don't even present for medical care because it is a relatively mild illness. So it is a small proportion of people that have severe diseases.
EVERETT: Mosquito-borne Eastern Equine Encephalitis has a mortality of 30-60 percent. The West Nile Virus is fatal in just one- five percent of cases. And often, people have it and may not know it with symptoms as mild as a fever or a headache.
KOH: Our plans involve increased communications about this whole public health issue with the public, with health professionals with doctors, hospitals, veterinarians.
EVERETT: Officials want doctors to recognize the disease, but hopefully never see it. The main goal is to step up surveillance adding traps to monitor mosquitoes and watching for bird deaths, which are an early indicator of the disease.
RALPH TIMPERI, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH EDUCATION: We ought to be able to detect it well in advance of the risk of disease to humans, and obviously take appropriate actions to eliminate that risk.
WATERS: Anthony Everett reporting from WCVB in Boston.
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