Death in the sun

Ananthaswamy, Anil
July 2003
New Scientist;7/26/2003, Vol. 179 Issue 2405, p12
Warmer climates, vulnerable populations, and unique bird and animal life mean that West Nile virus' impact on Latin America could be devastating. This virus is spread by mosquitoes and birds, which could make Latin American countries ideal breeding grounds, because of their warmer climate, large bird populations and year-round mosquitoes. Ecologists are worried about the effect on the diverse animal and bird life in the tropics. Another big question is whether people in Latin America will be hit harder by the virus than people in the U.S. and Canada. This is not simply because these are poorer countries with less effective healthcare systems. West Nile is a flavivirus, and there are concerns that people's immune response to it will be affected by previous encounters with other flaviviruses endemic to the region.


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