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From August 1 to October 31, 2000, 417 cases of West Nile (WN) fever were serologically confirmed throughout Israel; 326 (78%) were hospitalized patients. Cases were distributed throughout the country; the highest incidence was in central Israel, the most populated part. Men and women were equally affected, and their mean age was 54+/-23.8 years (range 6 months to 95 years). Incidence per 1,000 population increased from 0.01 in the 1st decade of life to 0.87 in the 9th decade. There were 35 deaths (case-fatality rate 8.4%), all in patients >50 years of age. Age-specific case-fatality rate increased with age. Central nervous system involvement occurred in 170 (73%) of 233 hospitalized patients. The countrywide spread, number of hospitalizations, severity of the disease, and high death rate contrast with previously reported outbreaks in Israel.