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West Nile Numbers Begin to Grow

By M. Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis, Mo. – Missouri health officials say the West Nile virus is making a comeback, but there are relatively few human cases compared with this time last year.

The state health department has found five human cases of the infection so far-and St. Louis city officials are investigating two more.

Missouri public health veterinarian Doctor Howard Pue says virus-carrying mosquitoes are beginning to thrive.

"Now the weather's starting to cool down and the rains are starting to come back, and we're thinking that the mosquito populations may surge here. Mosquitoes are not an endangered species by any means," Pue said.

Pue says Missouri had 25 West Nile cases by this time last year.

Most people do not get sick after infection, but at its worst the virus can cause fatal brain inflammation.