News Stories

You Can Have West Nile & Not Know It

100,000 Americans may get West Nile this year, but most of them will have only a 3 day bout of fever. Only about one in 150 will have more severe symptoms, and most people won't even know they have it.

Dr. Lyle Petersen, who runs the mosquito-borne diseases section of the CDC, got it himself and says, "I didn't feel back to normal for a couple of weeks." West Nile fever is being reported about 10 times more often than it was last year. It could be because the rainy summer means more mosquitoes are around, or because doctors are now more aware of the disease, thus they diagnose it more often. It's easier to spot because there are two new tests for it, one of which screens blood donations. It's been shown that West Nile can be passed along in blood transfusions, as well as in breast milk.

Dr. Jesse Goodman of the FDA says 2 million blood donations have been screened, and 527 of these were positive for West Nile. It varies depending on what part of the country the blood comes from?most areas have one infected sample in every 1,000 or more, but some have as many as one in every 250 donations. Western states are more affected because they have the Culex tarsalis mosquito, which breeds in irrigated farmland and is especially good at spreading the virus.

Mosquitoes have been annoying us for so long?would it help if we talked to them?

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