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West Nile research springs a surprise

Houston Chronicle (Internet/Print) June 7, 2005

The discovery of West Nile virus in New York six years ago divided the scientists who study infectious diseases. Many believed the virus would spread slowly across America; others thought it wouldn't survive at all. Few predicted a wildfire-like march across the continent that culminated with cases in California just four years later, in 2003. Now, scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston may have discovered one reason why - their earlier understanding of how mosquitoes become infected was very likely flawed. "We certainly didn't expect this," said Stephen Higgs, an associate professor at UTMB and lead author on the research, to be published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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