States Brace For Another Bout With West Nile Virus

July 2, 2004
by Erin Madigan

Public health officials across the states are bracing for another onslaught of West Nile virus, the disease of African origin that infected nearly 10,000 people in 45 states in 2003 and already has caused one death and sickened 57 people this year... ...Although most states have rolled out public education campaigns and established mosquito and bird surveillance programs to identify and track the disease, control efforts have been largely under-funded by states and the federal government, according to a July 1 report by the Trust for America’s Health, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that aims to make disease prevention a national priority. “We’ve been doing budget cuts rather than beefing up when we know an epidemic is about to hit,” said Shelley Hearne, executive director of the health trust. She told that in 2003, two-thirds of states made cutbacks in public health funding, which is typically used to battle West Nile and other infectious diseases.

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