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It's too soon to know if the study applies to people, but West Nile caused fetal brain damage and death in mice.
The patients, hospitalized at a speciality center, had a variety of complications and some unusual features.
Researchers call cardinals West Nile virus "supersupressors," because their lower viral blood levels are less likely to transmit the disease back to mosquitoes.
Arbovirus cases, including WNV, were down a bit in 2014, but the diseases had a broad impact.
In addition to naming risk groups, the new study found that West Nile in 2012 cost Texas over $47 million.
West Nile virus activity is well below last summer's big spike, but cases have been reported in 42 states so far.
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