West Nile Virus Fact Sheet

You have been hired by the New York City Board of Health to investigate the recent events in the West Nile Virus outbreak. You and your colleagues are required to draw on your background in Biology and any other area that you feel is relevant.

Your objective is to investigate this events listed below and propose a “Working Hypothesis” as to how this outbreak may have occurred. You will then present your findings, with support, to the Board. In it, you will propose your recommendation as to what can be done about the human health problem.

The following is what we know to be true so far:

1.   On August 23, 1999, 6 people were admitted to Flushing Hospital in Queens, New York with similar symptoms: high fever, altered mental states, headache.

2.   They all lived in Northern Queens

3.   Hundreds of Native birds deaths had been recorded throughout the city starting in July.

4.   In September, exotic birds began dying at the Bronx Zoo

5.   Rainfall for the summer 1999:

a.   May    3.74 inches –below average

b.   June    0.19 inches

c.   July     0.44 inches

d.   August1.30 inches

One of the driest summers on record

Followed by a downpour on August 26, 1999 (1.58 inches overnight) and Hurricane Floyd in September.

6.   Heat Wave across the city drove many residents to pools, sprinklers, open hydrants ect.

7.   Drought conditions caused many birds to leave the area in search of food elsewhere


(This list should be added to and/or amended in any way that makes sense to the needs of your class. It is just presented as a possible starting point to generate the questions they will need to direct their investigation)


Brainstorm with the your team:

1.   In what ways could these facts possibly be related to each other and the West Nile Virus outbreak?

2.   What else do you need to know and how will you find it?


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