West Nile Virus (WNV) appeared on the East Coast of the United States in 1999 and spread across the country, showing up in California in 2003. This is a disease that is spread primarily between birds and Culex mosquitoes, although other mosquitoes may become involved. After acquiring the virus from an infected bird, the newly-infected mosquito can transmit the virus to a human or horse when she takes their blood. Approximately 80% of individuals who become infected show no symptoms. About 20% show flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache, body weakness, nausea, or rash. Less than one percent of victims show serious neurological complications such as tremors, paralysis, or coma. In extreme cases death may result, usually in individuals over 50 years of age.
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