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The Center for Disease Control reports that we are seeing one of the largest number of cases of West Nile Virus in our history, with 1118 cases so far, this year, as mosquito season is just starting. West Nile Virus: Alarming Increase In Cases This Summer       

U.S. health officials reported Wednesday three times the usual number of West Nile cases for this time of year and one expert called it "one of the largest" outbreaks since the virus appeared in this country in 1999.

So far, 1,118 illnesses have been reported, about half of them in Texas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In an average year, fewer than 300 cases are reported by mid-August. There have also been 41 deaths this year.

"We're in the midst of one of the largest West Nile outbreaks ever seen in the United States," said Dr. Lyle Petersen, a CDC official.

Never before have so many illnesses been reported this early, said Petersen, who oversees the CDC's mosquito-borne illness programs.

Peak mosquito season usually runs from August to September. But, experts think the mild winter and early spring may have extended the breeding season, and allowed for greater spread this year.

Of those that get infected, 80% have no symptoms, and 20% have mild symptoms.  "One in 150 infected people will develop severe symptoms including neck stiffness, disorientation, coma and paralysis."  According to a CNN report, I do not have the transcript of yet, 41 people have died so far this year. Last year 26 died.

CNN  reports that this year Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and South Dakota are reporting the most cases. I remember a report here in Pennsylvania, last week,  that 7 mosquitoes out of just over 1,000 collected in local traps were infected by the virus they get from feeding on birds.  

CNN says the 4 D's of preventing mosquito born diseases are:

1) Use Deet
2) Drain standing water where mosquitoes breed.
3) Dress in long-sleeve shirts, pants, and wear light clothing.
4) Avoid going at at dawn and dusk.

Outbreaks such as this point out some of the disadvantages of not having universal health care coverage, as doctors recommend if you come down with flu-like symptoms, get a stiff neck, and feel disoriented to see your doctor immediately.  But, people who are poor, and without health care, hesitate to see doctors and incur expenses they can not afford.

11:55 AM PT: Professor David Dausey raises the link to global warming and greater outbreaks of dengue fever, yellow fever, and malaria in tropical regions.  He also recommends we use the strongest DEET formulations with are 30% to 50% concentrations.

And it's going to get worse, David Dausey, a professor of public health at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., told USA TODAY. He says climate change means warmer winters, milder springs and hotter summers, all of which "create a longer season for mosquitoes to breed and ideal conditions for them to survive." That will mean more West Nile and, public health workers worry, other mosquito-borne diseases such as yellow fever, malaria and dengue fever, Dausey says.

Fueled by longer rainy seasons, overpopulation and inadequate mosquito eradication efforts, dengue fever is on the upswing. At least 100 cases a year are reported among U.S. travelers, but dengue is often under-reported and misdiagnosed because it mimics other diseases. Although most patients recover within a week, a small percentage develop a more severe, sometimes fatal form.

The CDC notes that dengue is the most common cause of fever in travelers returning from the Caribbean, Central America, and South Central Asia. Last year, just over 1 million cases were reported to the Pan American Health Organization, including 18,321 severe dengue cases and 716 deaths with outbreaks in Paraguay, Panama, Aruba, Bahamas, and Saint Lucia. Cases also have been confirmed in Florida, where officials are considering the release of genetically modified mosquitoes to combat the problem.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Has nothing to do with Thugs starving public healt (8+ / 0-)

    h funding, of course, so the rich get more tax breaks (exactly what has been happening here in TX).

    And besides, people like having preventable diseases! It's freedom!(tm) something, something...

    So, move along...  :)

  •  The raptor banding program I volunteer with (7+ / 0-)

    is doing some studies on WNV this year, working in conjunction with someone from UC Davis, looking at its prevalence in different migratory populations that we see.  I don't know many details about the study yet, but it's been in the works for a while - dunno if it's good or bad for the study that it's an outbreak year.

  •  Mosquito season (8+ / 0-)

    started in late March here in Connecticut.  The little bastards seem to appear the second the temperature is above 50 -- and then go under cover for the next attack.

    We have bat houses around the lake house -- difficult to get rid of all standing water, but between the bats and the fish, there is an all out murther event daily.

    Horrible disease.  And it is a crap shoot.  I've been bitten dozens of times -- just not by the infected insect.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 11:44:52 AM PDT

    •  I'm laughing at your use of "little bastards" to (7+ / 0-)

      describe them.  In the first draft I wrote "these little shitheads" but then was overcome by the rapid escalation of dignity, and sobriety that seems to have overtaken Daily Kos in the last years.  

      So, I dutifully, cleaned up the language, when checking spelling, punctuation, and using more fancy multiple syllable words.  

      But, do you remember six years ago, when one of the current highly respectable front-pagers, carried on in such a profane rage for three paragraphs that it was picked up by the Wall Street Journal.  He threatened to do things to a pile of mud that would still be illegal in most states, even after the SCOTUS repeals sodomy laws in Lawrence v. Texas in 2002.  

      In a "I'm back, letter a few months ago, he said that after he had been banned, for different reasons as a "journalistic terrorist" or something like that, Markos recently proclaimed he has been "rehabilitated" and can now return as a productive member of our society.

      But, now our culture has become so dignified, I've been so intimidated into submission, that I censored myself into calling these mosquitoes, "little bastards,"  Even before I ever had a chance to have a "misspent youth." (Who was it that said he regretted the misspent youth he never had.)

      So, I admire you courage gchaucer2.  But, sadly, if there is a Spanish Inquisition about this I may deny we even know each other.  lol

      But, pending that, "well said! Bravo!"

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 12:10:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  OMG!!! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jayden, HoundDog, KenBee

        I missed the exquisite rampage of foul language -- although, I think I can guess who it was.

        You are the diarist -- ergo, you are held to higher standards than the peons who comment!!

        Excellent diary, HoundDog.  Quite scary -- and couple that with the new diseases coming from wood ticks -- not just deer tick Lyme disease.

        " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

        by gchaucer2 on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 12:40:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, I wish you hadn't brought up the whole blood (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gchaucer2, KenBee

          born, tick disease vector, as it gives me the heebby - jeebies.  

          Ticks regurgitate a blood thinner into their victims to keep the blood flowing, so this greatly increases their capacity to spread diseases from previous victims they store in their stomachs.  

          Gak!  I used to save all insects I found in my house, and transport them to new homes out doors, as part of spiritual respect for other living beings.  But, now, I kill spiders, ticks, and mosquitoes like I'm a psychopath in one of those Halloween scary movies. When I was younger, I naively believed knowledge elevated the human spirit, and soul.  Now the ugly, and scary,  truth comes out!

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 01:11:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, I think if you use an "and" logic search (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gchaucer2, KenBee

          on WSJ, Daily Kos, and "erosion of Western Civilization" you'll find the whole three paragraph quote I referred to.

          But, now I'm worried that I may have mixed up two different front pagers -- the one with the proclivity for foul language, and the one who Markos banned for "journalistic terrorism."   I often got them confused.

          Oh, the good ole days, eh?

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 01:15:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  It's not swearing unless you write (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gchaucer2, KenBee, rebel ga

        "fucking little bastards." And it would be correct.

        Not this mind and not this heart, I won't rot • Mumford & Sons

        by jayden on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 12:40:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  True, traditional marriage as RomRyan not applicab (0+ / 0-)

          as Romney Ryan define it is not applicable, therefore an accurate and not actionable slur against mosquitos, so the truth along with DEET and a bug light and lots of mosw net is the best defense.

          Yer in the clear dog.

          I am a sea lawyer.

          This machine kills Fascists.

          by KenBee on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 03:04:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  LOL, Thanks for the laugh HoundDog. (0+ / 0-)

        Great diary too.

        Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

        by rebel ga on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 06:54:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •   Maybe this will help, gchaucer (0+ / 0-)

      I just left this link with HoundDog but you sound like you really need it. Natural Insect Repellent Plants And Pesticides

      Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

      by rebel ga on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 06:50:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I forgot to mention that possible connection to (11+ / 0-)

    global warming.  This may one of the many "hidden cost" of global warming.   I've read else where that the southern US is experiencing outbreaks of denque fever, more typically seen in tropical areas.  

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 11:45:13 AM PDT

  •  Natural Insect Repellent (9+ / 0-)

    From the Texas Department of State Health Services (these "4 D's are slightly different than the ones you have from CNN):

    Your best defense is to practice these habits, known as the “Four Ds”:
    Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
    Dress in long sleeves and long pants when you are outside.
    Stay indoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
    Drain standing water where mosquitoes breed. Common breeding sites include old tires, flowerpots and clogged rain gutters.
    After confirming that the CDC has determined that oil of lemon eucalyptus is as effective as DEET (just needs to be reapplied more frequently), I searched around for a recipe and made up a batch:
    1-2 teaspoons of Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (essential oil)
    1 ounce (2 T.) of a carrier oil (I used grapeseed oil)
    3 ounces (6 T.) of  witch hazel (could use alcohol or vodka or even just water)
    Put in a spray bottle; shake well before each use.  Spray exposed skin and clothes before exposure and reapply every 1-2 hours.  Do not spray directly on face; spritz hands and then pat on face.
    I used 1 t. of the lemon eucalyptus for starters; will up it by another half teaspoon if needed.  So far, it works a charm!  and smells delicious too.
    •  Thanks Carol, I was just about to go back and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Carol in San Antonio, KenBee

      search for this picaridin, and lemon eucalyptus mix, as I remembered it from when my son was very young.  We had concerns about using 50% DEET mixtures on his skin, as it does absorb into the blood stream, although I do not know of any evidence that this is bad, it seemed risky.  So, there are some natural substitutes, but as you say, you have to put them on more frequently, especially, if you are perspiring a lot.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 01:19:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm reasonably sure I just had it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden, HoundDog

    Got a gnarly fever out of nowehere a few weeks ago in Brooklyn.

    And if I had it, that means a lot more people are getting in than just a few hundred.

    •  1,118 confirmed cases, but as reported, most (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      cases go unreported, as the the symptoms are not enough to put you into a hospital.

      But, with 1% of all mosquitoes now carrying this virus, I suspect the number of low level infections is vastly greater than reported.

      I don't know if you are immune now, or not.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 01:21:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow, a diary here at DK espousing the use (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    of a synthetic chemical - who'd have ever thunk it.

    •  I'm part of the "better living through chemistry" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      generation, Roadbed Guy. My opposition to your nuclear energy programs is based mostly on the mathematics of whole system, full-life-cycle, economics, although, I do believe we need to be extra careful with radioactive chemicals, especially for national security reasons, in this age of terrorism and dirty bombs.  

      But, if DEET troubles you, Carol in San Antonio has a Lemon Eucalyptus mix that smells better.  US soldiers used even more highly concentrated DEET mixtures in World War II to reduce malaria rates in the South Pacific, and seemed to be ok, but there is some controversy about it.  

      It's all benefit cost ratio mathematics to me.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 01:28:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  West Nile's been in the US (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maybeeso in michigan, HoundDog

    since the 90s, lots of people have probably contracted it and not realized it. eventually a natural immunity will develop to the virus here in North America.

    More of a "knitting the two worlds together in a trend started by columbus" than a "omg climatechange" thing.

    pseudoscience can kill

    by terrypinder on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 12:11:35 PM PDT

    •  I was wondering about the immunity thing, as (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, KenBee

      one of our other commenters seems to have had it a few weeks ago.  

      Some folks think whatever doesn't kill you leaves you stronger.  But, sometimes what doesn't kill you today, just slowly grinds you down, until some other otherwise trivial thing can kill you off later.  I don't know which one this is.

      It turns out that the virus of the childhood chicken pox, we all had when young, lurks in our bodies for decades waiting for the opportunity to give us shingles when we least expect it.  Supporting the "life sucks, then we die" philosophy.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 01:32:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  also, dengue and malaria (3+ / 0-)

    were also present in the US until the 40s. there's a reason CDC is in Atlanta and not in DC with the rest of the agencies.

    if/when they return, yes, climate change could factor, but i suspect declining budgets for mosquito control will be the bigger factor.

    pseudoscience can kill

    by terrypinder on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 12:16:37 PM PDT

    •  Maybe, I did a quick google search, because I (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      remembered reading about the possibility of dengue fever, in the southern US, but it turns out from the brief look at CDC data I just glanced at, the few cases of dengue, yellow fever, and malaria, in the US are thought to have been contracted by tourists after returning from trips to the more tropical areas of common prevalence.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 01:35:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  skip the DEET and deploy cheap-o homebrew (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, KenBee

    mosquito traps. Also, stop killing bats and swallows.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 01:25:32 PM PDT

  •  I gotta ask: (0+ / 0-)

    How do the deaths from West Nile compare to handgun deaths over this same period? Do we really know? and, if not, why not?

  •  West Nile also up in horses this year (0+ / 0-)

    Keep in mind that there is a vaccine for horses that is widely given.

    It's possible, though, that horse owners had thought the threat had passed and vaccinated less this year.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 04:18:26 PM PDT

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