Is West Nile virus getting worse again? – Lifehacker

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West Nile virus has been found in a record number of mosquitoes in the New York City area, with at least two cases in humans. If you weren’t around because of the last big panic in West Nile about 20 years ago, you might just be wondering what this disease is and whether you should be worrying about it.

What is West Nile virus?

West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, and can infect birds and some other animals, including horses, as well as humans. Most people with the virus will not show any symptoms. About 20% will have a fever and flu-like symptoms, but in rare cases — one in 150 people, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates — the virus can cause more serious neurological symptoms.

In those severe cases, the brain or its membranes may become inflamed. Symptoms may include neck stiffness, confusion, weakness, convulsions, numbness, vision loss, or paralysis. One in 10 people with severe disease may die from West Nile.

Where is the problem of West Nile?

The virus and the mosquitoes it carries are found throughout the continental United States. The region with the highest number of cases, based on historical data, occurs in the western half of the country, and is most common in region It extends from North Dakota to Colorado.

Why is this happening now?

West Nile first made headlines in the early 2000’s, but it never really went away. The New York City MOH indicates it Increased temperatures make mosquitoes reproduce more quickly, which may contribute to the further spread of the disease. As was the weather in the southwestern United States More moisture than usualWhich is good news for mosquitoes and bad news for us.

While the New York results are in the news now, they aren’t the only cases of West Nile. California, for example, has Already 12 human cases this year.

What should I do?

As with any mosquito-borne disease, the best way to protect yourself is to avoid being bitten. a Good bug spray Which includes DEET or another EPA-registered pesticide (such as picaridin) is key. You can also protect yourself by using window screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home, by wearing long sleeves and long pants where possible, and by using a fan to keep mosquitoes away when they are chilling on the porch.

anti mosquito It’s also a good idea in general. Mosquitoes breed in puddles of standing water, so if you have any buckets, flower pots, birdbaths, pits, or other places where water collects, consider dumping and cleaning them regularly or treating them with larvicides (which kill small aquatic mosquitoes) if they can’t be drowned out .

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