In a study of the economic impact of West Nile virus in the United States, a research team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in the 14 years since the virus was first detected in New York, hospitalized cases of WNV disease have cost a cumulative $778 million in health care expenditures and lost productivity. The findings are the result of an analysis published online in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. In an accompanying AJTMH editorial, Alan D. T. Barrett, a tropical viral disease specialist at UTMB, writes that studies such as this "are critical to assessing cost-effectiveness of prevention and therapeutic countermeasures and various intervention strategies, and are important in helping guide public health decisions. There are a number of candidate vaccines and antiviral drugs in development, and the figures for economic burden reported in this paper will aid policy makers and pharma to assess the economics of vaccine and drug development. The news also appears in RedOrbit, MedPage Today and Medical Xpress.