West Nile Virus Epidemic Increases By 40% and Going Up, Part 3

posted by Dr. Ad Versery Bored @ 20:34 PM
August 30, 2012

        The United States is undergoing the worse epidemic of West Nile Virus ever imagined.  There has been a 40% increase in the number of cases in just this week.  As of  today, the disease has killed 66 Americans, and sickened another 1,590.

Because those with milder cases usually don’t report to doctors, some 30,000 Americans have probably contracted the virus.  Over 70% of known cases are in six states––Texas, South Dakota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Michigan.

However, nearly half (45%) of all reported cases in the U.S. are in Texas, which now has 894 confirmed cases, with the disease killing 34 there.
Strangely, over half of those deaths were in the northern part of the state.

Moreover, health officials expect the statistics of infected cases to increase.  Dr. Lyle Petersen, Director of Vector-Borne Infectious in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says:  “We have seen this trend in previous West Nile epidemics, so the increase is not unexpected. In fact, we think the reported numbers will get higher through October.”

Petersen further advises:  “The virus is endemic at this point throughout the United States.  There is a risk almost everywhere.”  Sharon Begley of Reuters writes that, according to Petersen, only 2 or 3 percent of West Nile virus cases are even reported to health officials, because 80 percent of victims show no symptoms.

Dr. David L. Lakey, Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, agrees:  “Since last week, there have been 197 new cases and 10 more deaths in Texas.  Those numbers will continue to go up.”

What’s even more serious, 56% of these known cases are neuro-invasive, which means the virus has entered the nervous system and can result in meningitis or encephalitis, which causes disorientation, muscle weakness, etc.

Various scientists speculate that a milder winter and hotter summer has greatly contributed to this explosion of  disease-carrying mosquitoes.  Dr. Tony Goldberg, professor of epidemiology at the University of Wisconsin, theorizes:  “Higher temperatures foster faster reproduction of both the mosquito and the virus.”  The same high temperatures also increase mosquito movements.

In “Why Is West Nile Virus So Bad This Year?,” Tia Ghose of LiveScience writers:  “A mild winter and a hot, dry summer are part of the reason West Nile virus is spreading like wildfire throughout the country.” Because few regions had hard frosts to kill these insects, they started breeding earlier in the spring.

Which brings us back to Global Warming.  As our earthend team asks so often: when will our leaders accept that we are killing the planet and ourselves with climate change.  As online Bible lessons make clear: “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy (Proverbs 29: 1).”  This mosquito-borne disease is only one of many plagues to come, unless we attack Global Warming!

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