Survive Outdoors Update on West Nile Virus
August 11, 2002
Within one year’s time the West Nile Virus has spread
from the east coast to the central states. There have been
documented cases of the West Nile Virus occurring in humans
in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Illinois and New York.
It is important to note that the West Nile mosquito does
not typically reside near rivers, lakes and streams, but prefers
stagnant pools of water. Precautions can be taken by removing
stagnant water around your home area. Take a walk around your
home and yard. Water that is pooling in old tires or flowerpots
should be dumped out. Decrease outdoor activity at dawn or
dusk, when mosquitoes are most prevalent. However if outside
during that time, mosquito repellant with up to 35% Deet is
recommended (please use no more than 25% in children under
7 years of age, or the elderly).
We need not start to panic! However, vigilant concern is
appropriate. Your risk of contracting the West Nile Virus
at this point is still less than 1%, despite the amount of
cases that have been reported. Many sub-clinical cases of
West Nile Virus, which have not advance to full-blown encephalitis,
may go unnoticed and therefore unreported.
Because West Nile is a Virus and not bacterial infection,
there is no effective treatment at this point in time. No
vaccine is available. Pets can contract the West Nile Virus,
but they cannot transmit this to humans.
There is a blood test available to determine whether or not
one has been exposed to the West Nile Virus, by testing whether
antibodies to the Virus are present in the blood. This is
a specific West Nile antibody test for IGG/IGM Immunoglobulin.
You can ask your health care provider about this test.
For more in depth information on the, go to www.cdc.gov and
click on West Nile Virus. Their toll free telephone number
We will keep you updated with the latest information on the
continued spread of the West Nile Virus.
Dan Williams, Psy.D., PA-C
West Nile Virus News from 2001
The West Nile Virus is 98% fatal to the American Crow. If
you spot a dead crow or group of dead crows, you need to call
your County Health Department. There is no evidence that this
Virus can be obtained by handling live or infected birds.
However the disease is transmitted through mosquitoes, not
any other insect. The symptoms of West Nile Encephalitis,
which is a Virus that affects the brain, usually occurs 3-15
days after a mosquito bite and includes fever, headache, body
aches, occasional skin rash and swollen lymph glands. Severe
infections can lead to high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation,
tremors, convulsions, and muscle weakness. Most infections
are mild, but death is possible in extremely rare cases. There
have been 9 reported deaths in the Northeastern area of the
United States, not in the Midwest. Elderly individuals are
at greater risk. It is believed that the West Nile Virus started
in the New York City area, where most likely an exoticbird
infected with the Virus was brought over from another country
and smuggled in. Crows have tested positive for the West Nile
Virus in New Jersey this year, and it has been tracked as
far south as North Carolina. The Virus also affects backyard
birds. Blue Jays and Blue Birds can be affected.
Some tips to keep mosquitoes away: It is important to use
mosquito repellants. Repellants containing 30% Deet should
be effective in repelling mosquitoes. Mosquitoes find human
beings by smelling out the carbon dioxide that we exhale from
our bodies. It is pretty well worthless to use mosquito repellants
on clothing. It is best to use directly onto the body surfaces.
You do not want anything over 30-35% Deet, as in many cases,
it could cause a dermatologic response (rash). Mosquitoes
are more prevalent evenings where the winds are calm, as well
as at dusk.
There is no need to panic if proper precautions are taken
when spending time outdoors. Along with mosquito repellant,
Citronella candles, definitely create an odor that repells
mosquitoes. You can find more information on the West Nile
Virus on the Web, at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention