|To: Tadsamillionaire who wrote (334)||7/27/2007 8:45:19 PM|
|CDC: West Nile Cases Off to a Fast Start|
The nation is on pace to have its worst West Nile virus season in years, federal health officials said Thursday.
So far this year, there have been nearly four times as many cases reported as there were at the same time last year. However, cool weather in August or September - when the bulk of West Nile cases usually occur - could take the sting out of the season, officials added.
"If this trend continues like this, it's going to be a very high," said Dr. Lyle Petersen of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Nineteen states, most of them west of the Mississippi, have reported 122 human cases of the mosquito-borne disease. That total includes three deaths. Health officials had counted only 33 cases by late July last year but it turned out to be the worst season since the record year 2003.
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|From: Tadsamillionaire||8/3/2007 7:53:42 PM|
|Governor declares emergency in three counties|
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency Thursday in three California counties hit hard by the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus, which has killed four this year and appears to be spreading at a rapid clip.
The emergency declaration applies to Kern, Colusa and San Joaquin counties, and will provide up to $1.35 million to help combat the spread of the virus, Schwarzenegger said.
West Nile is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites, and so far this year has infected three times more people than it did in the same period in 2006, he said.
The disease's epicenter thus far is Kern County, which has logged two-thirds of the state's 56 West Nile cases this year, including an 85-year-old Shafter man and a 96-year-old Bakersfield woman who died last month.
Health officials announced the state's third and fourth fatalities this week: two elderly residents of San Joaquin and Colusa counties.
Schwarzenegger met with Kern County mosquito control officials Thursday.
"Last year it was down, this year it has increased again," Schwarzenegger said.
"The important thing is that we all go all out and we work together, the counties and the state, in order to get the job done and get rid of the virus."
Most infected people never get sick, but up to about 20 percent develop mostly mild flu-like symptoms. Severe symptoms, including fatal brain inflammation, are rare.
Health officials recommend people avoid infection by staying inside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active; wearing clothes that keep mosquitoes away from the skin; draining areas where mosquitoes can breed; and using insecticide with the chemical DEET.
In Sacramento County, authorities said Monday that West Nile had reached an epidemic rate there and had to be combatted with a mass aerial-spraying campaign — often considered a last resort. More than 55,000 acres of urban neighborhoods north of the American River were scheduled to be sprayed.
Health officials in San Jose said Thursday that a Santa Clara County resident had become infected, in their first local case this year.
In Kern County, the new funds won't be enough to educate the public in time for the disease's high season in August and September, said Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter.
The state needs to provide a more consistent budget for eradication efforts in winter months, hire more vector control officers and coordinate surveillance efforts with real estate agents, who can provide updated information about vacant properties where standing water could provide the insects with a fertile breeding ground, he said.
"Next season could be quite possibly worse than this year unless we get a new infusion of money," Florez said.
Schwarzenegger said he was directing state agencies to take proactive measures, and that more funds could be made available if needed.
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|From: Tadsamillionaire||8/10/2007 1:04:40 PM|
|West Nile Threat Rises in California as Pools Lure Mosquitoes |
The 9,000 unsold houses sitting empty in Northern California's Sacramento and Yolo counties aren't just a headache for owners: They're a threat to public health.
The danger is in their yards, where deserted swimming pools, spas and ponds provide prime breeding grounds for mosquitoes. That heightens the risk of West Nile virus, which mosquitoes get from birds and pass to people, said David Brown, general manager of the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District.
``You could literally have one home infecting an entire neighborhood,'' Brown said. One pool may produce tens of thousands of mosquitoes, he said. California health officials predict a record outbreak of West Nile virus this year, as hot weather arrived sooner than usual and mosquitoes began breeding earlier.
Real-estate agents are being drafted to help combat the spread of the sometimes fatal virus. Health officials asked agents to report vacant residences with standing water, in what the National Association of Realtors says is an effort unique to the Sacramento area.
``We have a big role to play,'' said Stan Read of Keller Williams Realty in Roseville. ``It makes total sense to me because we are involved in so many properties.''
Reports Roll In
More than 1,000 homes have been reported since the program began in May, Brown said. The average time a single-family home sits on the market in Sacramento was 52 days at the end of June, according to the Sacramento Association of Realtors. The selling time tripled in the past three years.
``If it's a home that's in that transition phase, nobody is really looking out after it except the realtor,'' Brown said. ``We have found them to be a very valuable tool in letting us know where those conditions exist.''
California hasn't escaped the nation's real-estate slump as buyers become more cautious. The National Association of Realtors yesterday projected that existing home sales will fall 6.8 percent this year and that single-family housing starts in 2008 will fall 29 percent from 2006.
Sacramento was the third-riskiest housing market in the U.S. after Miami and Orlando, Florida, Forbes Magazine reported in July. The magazine noted the area's 3.3 percent vacancy rate and its share of adjustable-rate mortgages, which constitute more than half of all home loans. In comparison, nearby San Francisco has a vacancy rate of 2.4 percent and Chicago's rate is 2.3 percent.
The estimate of 9,000 vacant homes in Sacramento and Yolo counties comes from numbers provided by the realtor associations in both counties, as of Aug. 1. About 1,200 of the empty houses are known to have swimming pools, said Greg Vlasek, director of government relations for the Sacramento Association of Realtors.
``You have people who may have relocated to another region or moved on to another home and still haven't been able to sell the first home, and they aren't paying to maintain the pool in the meantime,'' he said.
The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District each day dispatches technicians to the identified properties to treat stagnant water with a chemical larvicide or with tiny fish that eat mosquito larvae. Only female mosquitoes bite humans as they seek blood to produce eggs.
The department also has 10 flocks of so-called sentinel chickens. The fowl are deployed in coops, cages and pens on state and county property and some private land as an early warning system. Each flock has 10 chickens.
West Nile virus emerged in the U.S. in 1999, in an outbreak traced to birds at the Bronx Zoo. Since then, the illness has spread across the U.S. and north into Canada.
Virus Is Present
The first bird in Sacramento County to test positive for West Nile virus was confirmed June 12. The virus has been reported in 42 of California's 58 counties and has been linked to five deaths in the state so far this year, according to the Department of Public Health.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in Kern, Colusa and San Joaquin counties because of West Nile virus. The declaration will free up grant money for local vector- control districts.
More than 4,200 Americans were infected with West Nile virus in the U.S. last year, and 177 died of the disease, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Forty-three cases were confirmed in Sacramento and Yolo counties in 2006.
About 20 percent of people with West Nile Virus will develop a fever, headache and body soreness, according to the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
One in 150 develops a severe illness that can include disorientation, tremors and coma, with possibly permanent nerve damage. Of that group, half struggle with symptoms, including fatigue, tremors and depression, more than a year later.
Federal scientists are warning that the U.S. could face an unprecedented West Nile epidemic this summer, Schwarzenegger said at a press conference last week.
``So when there is a swimming pool of a house that has been left behind or something and that hasn't been drained, we want to encourage everyone to get rid of the standing water,'' he said.
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|From: Tadsamillionaire||8/16/2007 2:13:28 PM|
|Illinois: 3 more people suffer West Nile virus|
Wednesday August 15, 2007 (Foodconsumer.org) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced three new human cases of mosquito-borne West Nile virus infections Wednesday, bringing the total of human cases in the state for 2007 to eleven.
The latest cases include a 56-year old Chicago man who became ill in mid-July, an 88-year old Chicago man who became ill in late-July, and a 59-year old Pike County woman who became ill in early July. But the state health agency did not say whether these people got infected through a bite of an infected mosquito.
The first human case of West Nile virus for 2007 was reported in DuPage County on June 15. In 2006, the first positive mosquito sample was reported May 24th in Dupage County and first human case was announced August 1 in St. Clair County.
Last week, an Ogle County man, 77, died after becoming ill from West Nile virus earlier this month. It is not known whether he got bitten by an infected mosquito.
The counties where human cases of West Nile virus were reported now include Cook, Dupage, Kane, Madison, Ogle, Pike, and Tazewell counties.
“As the temperatures increase, so does the risk of West Nile virus. Everyone should take necessary steps to reduce their chances of being bitten by mosquitoes," said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director.
“Wear insect repellent when you’re outside. If you can, stay indoors during peak hours from dusk until dawn. A little bit of prevention can go a long way to cutting down your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.”
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|To: Tadsamillionaire who wrote (338)||8/16/2007 2:14:55 PM|
|Three Calgarians struck with West Nile|
CHR advises use of insect repellent
West Nile virus has struck three Calgarians, including one case of the more serious neurological syndrome, according to the Calgary Health Region.
And while there may seem to be fewer mosquitoes out now, the CHR is warning the public to keep using bug spray as the Culex tarsalis mosquito, which carries the virus, is still going strong.
"We're seeing a persistence of the mosquitoes involved in the transmission of the virus," said Dr. Brent Friesen, medical officer of health for the region.
"Overall the number of mosquitoes is low compared to other parts of the province, but we're trapping large numbers of the ones responsible for West Nile."
There are now a total of 29 reported human cases across Alberta according to the government. Last year's total was 40.
The three Calgary cases were contracted in late July or early August and include men and women, said Friesen.
All are now at home being treated as outpatients, including the case of West Nile neurological syndrome.
The more serious strain of the virus can cause fever, severe headaches, neck stiffness, vomiting, muscle weakness, tremors, paralysis and even coma.
Symptoms of the more common variety of West Nile include headaches, body aches, fever, chills, rash and swollen glands.
Calgary's worst year for West Nile was in 2003 with 37 reported cases in the region including nine with the neurological syndrome.
The worst year since then was 2006 with just four cases.
Although cooler weather slows mosquito reproduction, the threat won't completely disappear until the first killing frost of the fall.
The CHR recommends using an insect repellent containing DEET and wearing long-sleeve shirts, pants and a hat while outside especially during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
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|From: Tadsamillionaire||8/24/2007 3:38:18 PM|
|More Illinois counties find West Nile virus in mosquitoes|
August 22 announced that three more counties reported West Nile virus positive mosquito samples, but no new human cases were reported in the state.
West Nile virus positive mosquito samples were found in Benton in Franklin County (1 sample) on August 14, in Shawneetown in Gallatin on August 16 (3) and in Decatur in Macon County (1) on July 30.
So far this year, 11 people have suffered from mosquito-borne West Nile virus in Illinois. An Ogle County man, 77, died August 8 after becoming ill from West Nile virus earlier. The first case for 2007 was reported in DuPage County on June 15.
“People need to remain vigilant and take preventive measures against mosquito bites,” said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director. “We still may have another month of hot summer temperatures and possibly more warm weather in the fall.”
West virus activity in mosquitoes, birds or humans has been reported this year in a total of 17 Illinois counties including Cook, DuPage, Franklin, Gallatin, Jackson, Kane, Lake, Lee, Macon, Macoupin, Madison, Ogle, Pike, Saline, Sangamon, St. Clair and Tazewell, the state health agency said in its announcement.
Last year, 77 out of 102 counties in the state reported a West Nile positive bird, mosquito, horse or human case. A total of 215 human cases of West Nile illness, resulting in 10 deaths, were reported last year in the state.
"Senior citizens and those individuals with weak immune systems are especially vulnerable so I want to stress the importance of taking the necessary precautions to protect yourself against mosquito bites," Dr. Whitaker earlier.
"There are preventive actions you can take to avoid getting West Nile virus such as wearing insect repellent with DEET and I encourage everyone who goes outside, especially from dusk to dawn, to take this preventive measure.”
The state health agency says that West Nile is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has been infected by feeding on an infected bird. Avoiding mosquito bites is what one needs to do to prevent West Nile virus.
Eighty percent of people who are infected do not show any symptoms. But about 20 percent experience symptoms including fever, headache and body aches. In serious cases, the virus results in encephalitis and meningitis and even death.
People who are older than 50 years of age and those whose immune systems are compromised are at the highest risk of severe implications by the West Nile virus.
To avoid mosquitoes, the IDPH suggest the following:
Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. Use prevention methods whenever mosquitoes are present.
When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
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|From: Tadsamillionaire||9/8/2007 2:45:13 PM|
|West Nile Virus Reaches Brooklyn |
A Brooklyn woman has tested positive for West Nile virus, the Health Department of New York City has confirmed. The 41-year-old woman was diagnosed as having viral meningitis on August 25. Later on it was confirmed that the meningitis was caused by the West Nile virus. This is the first known human case of West Nile virus in the region this year.
West Nile encephalitis and West Nile meningitis are forms of severe disease that affect a person’s nervous system. Encephalitis refers to an inflammation of the brain; meningitis is an inflammation of the membrane around the brain and the spinal cord, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
In 1999 the West Nile virus made its first appearance in the United States. Seven people died in the New York region, while 55 others were sickened.
Last year there were a total of 4269 West Nile virus infections reported to the CDC among which 177 proved lethal. The worst affected state in terms of fatalities was Texas with 32 deaths in the 354 cases reported to the CDC.
Idaho followed the fatality charts with 21 deaths among the 956 West Nile infections reported to the CDC.
According to the CDC, West Nile virus infection is established as a seasonal epidemic in North America that flares up in the summer and continues into the fall. West Nile virus (WNV) is a potentially serious illness and this year is predicted to be the worst season in the United States.
Although West Nile infection is mild in many cases, one in 150 people can develop severe symptoms, which include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.
Milder symptoms can include fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. The worst of the symptoms arise when West Nile virus invades the neurological system.
According to the CDC, West Nile virus infection is established as a seasonal epidemic in North America that flares up in the summer and continues into the fall. West Nile virus (WNV) is a potentially serious illness and this year is predicted to be the worst season because of the increasing number of human cases reported thus far.
Preventing West Nile virus infection is the best way to cure it, according to health experts. This is mainly because there is no cure for the disease. Even Canada has not been spared this year as the Public Health Agency of Canada has confirmed 234 human cases, 1,704 infected birds and 1,573 positive polls of West Nile Virus as of August 25, 2007.
In the United States human cases have been reported to the CDC from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming.
Avian, animal or mosquito WNV infections have also been reported to CDC ArboNET from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
California is the worst affected state with 172 people contacting the West Nile virus infection. Among them six cases have proved fatal this year. Furthermore 722 birds have tested positive for the virus in California this year. Around 673 positive mosquito samples were found this year as opposed to the 575 in 2006.
California has experienced the worst West Nile virus season in the country. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared an emergency and has pledged $1.35 million to tackle the crisis.
Overall 906 human cases of mosquito-borne West Nile virus infection have been reported nationwide, according to the latest report from the U.S. Geological Survey.
In the Brooklyn case, the woman had traveled outside the state for the last two weeks and might have picked up the infection elsewhere, City officials cautioned. Still residents were asked to take precautions to safeguard against the virus.
Consumers must be aware that the West Nile Virus season is almost over, but that does not mean the threat of infection has decreased. Prevention is always better than cure, so please follow the measures proposed by the CDC,
* When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient. Follow the directions on the package.
* Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.
* Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
* Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children's wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren't being used.
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