Could NY W. Nile spike be linked to foreclosures?

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (AP) -- An increase in the number of West Nile Virus cases this summer has officials in one New York community studying whether the spike could be linked to the rise in mortgage foreclosures.

Health officials in Nassau County on Long Island are still evaluating data, but Cornell University professor David Pimentel contends there is definitely a link.

He says foreclosed and unattended homes usually have pools of stagnant water, which are a breeding ground for mosquitoes that spread the virus.

Health officials say they have had 14 confirmed cases of the disease this summer, including three fatalities. The situation prompted officials last week to conduct aerial pesticide spraying over a 50,000-acre section of the county.

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(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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