A. West Nile virus spreading faster across U.S.
Aug 15, 2012, The Ready Store,
Pasted from: <http://www.thereadystore.com/current-events/4784/west-nile-virus-spreading-faster-across-u-s/>
A West Nile virus outbreak has prompted county officials to declare an official disaster as 16 people were killed in Texas this week, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dallas officials have declared the county in a state of emergency and Dallas city mayor Mike Rawlings opened up the opportunity for aerial spraying to kill mosquitoes.
“It’s clear to me that we have a serious health issue in Dallas. We’ve got over 130 people who’ve come down with this, a lion’s share have been sent to the hospital, and now we have 10 deaths. So that’s an issue. The question is what to do about it. We’re doing the ground spraying tonight and for the next three nights, and the county has declared this an emergency …
“Since public safety is my No. 1 job, I think it’s paramount to step up to the plate and say we need to do this. Obviously, no one wants anything sprayed over their house, but the EPA and city of New York and Massachusetts and Sacramento have all tested this out and there have been no signs of any personal health issues because of this, so I think it’s the appropriate thing to do.”– Mayor Mike Rawlings, On the Dallas Morning News
These measures are brought about due to the rapid spread of the West Nile virus. As of Monday, 381 West Nile infections had been reported in two dozen Texas counties. Compare that to last year when the whole state had 27 infections reported.
In Houston, 95 percent of tested mosquitoes are carrying the virus.
Texas has reported more infections than any other state with the West Nile virus. Some outbreaks have been reported in neighboring states like Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Nationwide there have been more than 693 cases and 28 deaths. There were 8 deaths alone last week.
“We’re on track to have the worst year ever.”
– Christine Mann, Spokeswoman Department of State Health Services in Austin
While many are predicting that the season will be one of the worst in history, it’s worthy to note that 70-80 percent of those who contract West Nile virus, never realize they have it. Symptoms include headache, fever, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea and rash.
B. West Nile virus fight takes hold in Bay Area
08/19/2012, Contra Costa Times, By Sean Maher
Pasted from: <http://www.insidebayarea.com/top-stories/ci_21329965>
With West Nile virus outbreaks at record levels across the country and warning signs popping up in the Bay Area, some counties are stepping up efforts to control virus-carrying mosquitoes.
Additionally, Parman called on residents to watch for Asian tiger mosquitoes, which are smaller than common mosquitoes and colored black with white striping.
The breed has thrived in Southern California but has not taken hold in the Bay Area, he said.
“If it gets here, it will be a game changer,” Parman said. “These are day biters, not just active at dawn and dusk, and they can breed in a bottle cap or a thimble of water. So we’re wanting early detection of any ‘hitchhiker mosquitoes’ that come up here in cars and trucks.”
Birds are also a big concern, Parman added — crows, magpies and jays in particular. “Birds, when they get sick with it, make lots and lots of virus in their bloodstream, so that just about every mosquito that lands on that bird becomes a carrier,” Parman said.
Nationwide, 693 human cases have been reported this year, the highest annual number reported through the second week of August since West Nile virus was first detected in the United States in 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Outbreaks have been worst by far in Texas, where the mayor of Dallas declared a state of emergency Wednesday and called for an aerial spraying of the entire city.
C. West Nile Virus and West Nile Encephalitis (WNE)
20 August 2012, eMedicineHealth
Pasted from: <http://www.emedicinehealth.com/west_nile_virus/article_em.htm>
West Nile virus was discovered in 1937 in the West Nile district of Uganda. West Nile emerged in the United States for the first time in the New York City area in August 1999. There were 62 confirmed human cases and 7 deaths during this outbreak, creating widespread concern.
>The distribution of the virus has spread across the United States, as determined from surveillance of infected birds by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In a little more than a year, West Nile spread to 11 states along the East Coast. In 2002, the virus spread to Florida, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. Cases are also being seen in the Dakotas, Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming.
>Whether West Nile encephalitis will present a serious health risk to the United States in the future is unknown. Using precautions directed at limiting contact by mosquitoes is the best preventive measure at this time.
West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected by biting birds that harbor the virus; thus mosquitoes are the vectors of West Nile encephalitis (WNE). The virus is not spread from person to person nor is it spread from infected birds to humans without a mosquito bite. The virus has now been found in 111 bird species and about a dozen mammals.
>West Nile virus infection typically begins with the abrupt onset of fever, chills, muscle aches, headache, and flu-like symptoms. Headache is particularly common and may be severe. The person may have sensitivity to light with pain behind the eyes.
>Most people fully recover. In others, particularly the elderly, the disease can progress to cause encephalitis or meningitis.