The West Nile disease is showing no sign of abating in the us. After claiming 71 human lives and wiping out colonies of birds, the virus killed hundreds of horses. Its latest victims are dogs and squirrels. The College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois has reported the first canine death in the country due to a West Nile viral infection -- that of an eight-year-old Irish setter-golden retriever hybrid. A young wolf kept at a zoo is also said to have succumbed to the disease. The death of three squirrels has also been attributed to the virus. "Our squirrel population is going to take a hit," feels John Andrews, director of the college's Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory. However, experts say that the spread of the virus from squirrels or dogs to humans is unlikely. "But precautions should be taken around squirrels that might be acting funny and with dogs," says Andrews.
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