The West Nile Virus has become a definite concern for citizens of the United States. So far it has been recorded in 47 states, and been detected in
humans, horses, mosquitoes, and birds. Hawaii, Alaska and Oregon are the only states who have not had reported human, equine, bird, or mosquito cases
of the disease.
West Nile is typically spread by mosquitoes, which feed on birds infected with the virus. Mostly those infected don’t have severe reactions to the
disease, but they may have flu-like symptoms. About 1 percent of those infected become seriously ill, and those who are elderly, or have weak immune
systems are at greater risk.
Thirteen people have died from the West Nile Virus this year alone. The most recent case, a 57-year-old man from California. California makes up 5
out of 13 deaths in the United States from the virus.
Experts believe that West Nile is preventable, simply by clearing standing water where mosquitoes breed from property and surrounding areas. Some
California officials have gone as far as fining citizens $1,000 for not cleaning up standing water on their property.
Out of 274 total West Nile cases Arizona is reporting three deaths while Iowa, Ohio and Texas, Mississippi and Florida have reported one each for the
Currently there is no vaccine for humans, but there is one for horses. It is reported that a vaccine for humans would be an economic gamble because
of the low demand. Chiron, a drug company in California, is currently doing research to create a vaccine, but they are waiting to see how badly the
disease spreads. Approximate estimates for creating a vaccine could be over $300 million.
Acambis, a British drug company, has recently started testing its vaccine on humans. They had a setback when 2 of their test subjects had protein in
the urine, which could mean kidney damage. Acambis does not believe that the vaccine caused this. There are several drug companies attempting to
create a vaccine for this virus, but they are using caution.
Mosquitoes are the biggest concern for West Nile Virus. Flu-like symptoms including, rashes, headache, high fever, stiffness and tremors can be
associated with the disease. 1 in 150 who contract this virus will develop more serious symptoms of the disease.
Map Courtesy of www.cdc.gov...
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[edit on 8-12-2004 by Valhall]