Stay on top of West Nile news

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 24, 2004

Complacency is a dangerous thing. On a political front, complacency in international affairs contributed to the horror that was 9/11. On an ecological front, complacency has contributed to the extinction or near extinction of far too many species.

On the health front, complacency can lead to serious illness, or even death. Last summer and the year before, hardly a week went by without some sort of coverage of the West Nile Virus – some one had it, some bird was found with it, or someone died from it. This year there has been very little coverage of WNV, which is a case of &uot;good news-bad news.&uot;

The good news is – there hasn’t been much coverage because there haven’t been many cases, which is very, very good news. The bad news is – just because it’s being ignored doesn’t mean it’s going to go away. Rabies, AIDS, cancer, WNV, all grab our attention for a while, then get bumped out of the spotlight by the newest designer disease.

Just because it’s being overlooked, doesn’t mean it’s going to go away.

This has been one of the wettest summers on record, and lots of rain means lots of standing water. Lots of standing water, of course, means breeding ground for mosquitoes and incubators for WNV. The water can be in a container as small as the cap of a spray can forgotten in the back yard, or as large as a pond.

The best way to prevent the occurrence of WNV is to eliminate or treat those standing pools. Empty the dog’s bowl every other day. There are special pesticides that can be dropped in the ponds or pools that won’t harm other species. Make sure there are no old paint cans, tire swings or other containers hiding water and concealing the potential for disease. Remember that although the government agencies are spraying, they are only attacking the mosquito – leaving behind the larva from whence the cycle begins again.

BNI