A New Wave of the West Nile Virus

The West Nile Virus resurfaces as in recent times, more become ill.

Written by CELENE CHANG / Published September 28, 2012  

Although the percentage of deaths yearly from West Nile Virus has stabilized at a minimally low rate, reports of death have been steadily worsening.

This year has been the worst by far, with reports of nearly 2,000 cases of the West Nile Virus. The first case announced this year in the L.A. County was reported in the San Gabriel Valley, back in July 2012.

West Nile Virus is usually transmitted to humans from mosquitoes that haven bitten infected birds.

The virus was first identified in Uganda, in 1937. Although it remained seemingly dormant, its potency reoccurred in the 1990s. Unfortunately, it made its way to the United States in 1999- drawn to the most densely populated place in the U.S – New York City.

The state that has taken the direct hit of the virus this year is in Dallas, Texas. It has gotten so severe that the state officials had to spray the city with anti-mosquito pesticide, the first time in years. As of Sep. 25, there have been a total of 34 cases.

Experts say that the sudden outbreak of disease is mainly contributed by the abnormal weather. There have been more heat waves, and places that already have high temperatures are more susceptible. This is due to the fact that mosquitoes breed more in heat, which leads to more people becoming infected.

There have also been a rise in the death of birds, and in August, officials found two dead birds in Santa Monica that were tested positive for West Nile Virus.

There were a total of 63 deaths in the L.A. County last year from the virus, and a total of four this year. Although we may not have received the blunt of the axe so far, precaution is necessary.

So far there are no vaccines for West Nile Virus, however civilians can prevent the chance of infection by avoiding mosquitoes at all costs. Make sure to check on any areas with stagnate water, where mosquito breeding is more susceptible, and using tons of bug repellent.

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