virus is spreading so quickly health officials believe it will
reach California this year or next. The virus has popped up in
33 states, as far west as South Dakota and nobody knows how bad
the mosquito-borne illness will get. A recent outbreak in Louisiana
has struck 32 people a month earlier than West Nile has ever struck
in this country, according to published reports.
that the virus could be a concern to anyone who works in an outdoor
environment. It is spread by mosquitoes that bite infected birds
and then spread it to humans. "Yet it's fairly easy to prevent,"
says Dr. Lyle Petersen of the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. "You should be concerned enough about it to do
something but not have it change your whole lifestyle."
from the CDC include spraying on DEET-containing mosquito repellent
when you go outdoors. Stay away from standing water where mosquitoes
can breed and try to stay indoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes
are most active.
get a flu-like illness, with fever, headache and muscle pains
that last two or three days. But the disease can cause a potentially
fatal brain inflammation that kills. Anyone who suffers a high
fever, confusion, severe headache, stiff neck or sudden muscle
weakness should see a doctor. There is a horse vaccine but not
a human one, nor is there any anti-viral treatment.
West Nile moves across the country, there's no real predicting how
big a threat it will pose each year," says Petersen. "Abroad,
West Nile hides for years between periodic epidemics -- a pattern
likely here, too." says Petersen.