Dr. James J. Rahal, an infectious-disease specialist who raised early alarms about the rise of drug-resistant bacteria in hospitals, and who emerged as a leading expert in the treatment of West Nile virus after the Queens community where he worked became the epicenter of a deadly outbreak in 1999, died on Saturday in Manhattan. He was 77.
The cause was a rare disorder called Rosai-Dorfman disease, said his wife, Barbara Britton.
Dr. Rahal (pronounced rah-HALL), a professor of medicine at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University and director of the infectious-diseases division at New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens, in Flushing, was known both as a widely published researcher and as a hands-on physician who asked and answered a lot of questions in treating patients in one of the most ethnically diverse communities in the world
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