Two doctors who have treated West Nile virus patients for years believe they are seeing evidence that the virus is causing more severe brain damage. Officials at the Centers for Disease Control disagree, saying more severe disease has been seen this year because there have been so many more cases.

The West Nile virus epidemic of 2012, the worst in a decade, may be notorious for yet another reason: The virus, in some cases, is attacking the brain more aggressively than in the past, raising the specter that it may have mutated into a nastier form, say two neurologists who have extensive experience dealing with the illness.

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