News of the WeekEpidemiology

Groups Race to Sequence and Identify New York Virus

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Science  08 Oct 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5438, pp. 206-207
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5438.206

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Two scientific groups are racing to sequence the DNA of the lethal virus that sowed panic in New York City last month, hoping to pin down its precise identity. The culprit looks like one of the flaviviruses, which can cause dengue and yellow fever as well as encephalitis. But experts are still uncertain which member of the flavivirus family is to blame; they are investigating the West Nile virus, endemic in Africa, and the Kunjin virus of Australia and Southeast Asia.