West Nile Waning?

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There are signs that Mississippi's West Nile epidemic is slowing. The Jackson Zoo has reopened a bird exhibit that was closed in August after seven infected birds died of the virus.

Assistant animal curator Willie Bennett says seven of the zoo's lorikeets became sick and died over several weeks in August and September.

Zookeepers and veterinarians identified the cause as West Nile virus and quarantined the other lorikeets from public display.

Lorikeets are small, brightly colored birds from Australia. Bennett says no other animals were infected, and since mid-September, there has been no evidence of the virus on zoo grounds.

Nine human deaths in Mississippi have been blamed on the virus, which is typically spread by mosquitoes. There have been 171 human cases reported, along with 331 bird and 218 horse cases.