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Emerg Infect Dis. 2004 Aug;10(8):1369-78.

West Nile virus in California.

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University of California, Davis, California, USA.


West Nile virus (WNV) was first isolated in California during July 2003 from a pool of Culex tarsalis collected near El Centro, Imperial County. WNV transmission then increased and spread in Imperial and Coachella Valleys, where it was tracked by isolation from pools of Cx. tarsalis, seroconversions in sentinel chickens, and seroprevalence in free-ranging birds. WNV then dispersed to the city of Riverside, Riverside County, and to the Whittier Dam area of Los Angeles County, where it was detected in dead birds and pools of Cx. pipiens quinquefasciatus. By October, WNV was detected in dead birds collected from riparian corridors in Los Angeles, west to Long Beach, and through inland valleys south from Riverside to San Diego County. WNV was reported concurrently from Arizona in mid-August and from Baja, Mexico, in mid-November. Possible mechanisms for virus introduction, amplification, and dispersal are discussed.

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