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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 9, 2003
CONTACT: Don Pickard, Health Department, (816) 840-2548

Second possible case of West Nile virus in Kansas City resident

The Health Department announced today the second probable case of West Nile virus in a resident. The second possible victim, a woman in her 40s, was seen at an area hospital where she was treated and released. The first case was discovered in a Kansas City resident over the weekend.

The plasma center where the first probable West Nile victim donated plasma has assured the Health Department that is has destroyed the donated plasma. The for-profit plasma center pays donors to contribute plasma, and then sells the plasma for commercial purposes, not for direct patient transfusions.

The area’s whole blood supply is collected from not-for-profit whole blood collection agencies charged with supplying hospitals with blood for patient care. This supply was never in danger.

Health officials are concerned because the two possible West Nile virus victims live in the same general area of Kansas City (Midtown) a possible indication that West Nile virus may be present in a higher level there, thus presenting a greater threat to area residents.

Health officials say the best indicator of West Nile virus activity is typically the Dead Bird Index. Reports of dead crows and blue jays are lower than last year’s totals. This renders the Dead Bird Index to be an unreliable indicator in this case.

Although the Health Department can no longer pick up the dead birds, the public is encouraged to report dead crows and blue jays by calling the department, (816) 513-6140.

    
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