How to be smarter than mosquitoes |

How to be smarter than mosquitoes

Now that evidence of West Nile virus has turned up in nearby counties, perhaps it’s time for Nevada Countians to begin thinking about protecting ourselves.

After all, even though mosquitoes ” the carriers of the virus ” are not as abundant up here in the dry foothills as they are in more tropical climes, they are nonetheless around.

However, it’s good not to panic, and to keep some things in mind:

– There is no evidence that the virus ” which has been moving west since being detected in New York in 1999 ” is in the county. If it arrives, we are likely to find out quickly, because a county task force is monitoring for cases in humans, birds and horses, which are vulnerable to the disease.

– Even if it should be detected here, remember that it is rarely fatal to humans. As a health official in Sonoma County put it, the chances of dying from everyday flu is much higher ” as is being killed in a car crash. Maybe 20 percent of those bitten will get symptoms, usually headaches, fatigue and diarrhea.

Nonetheless, it will pay to help protect ourselves by draining standing water where mosquitoes breed, apply insect repellent that includes DEET, dress in long sleeves and pants, and stay indoors during dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

Horses are more vulnerable ” 30 percent that get West Nile die from it. But there is a vaccine for them, unlike for humans, and smart horse owners are already getting their animals immunized.

A nuisance? Sure. But humans are smarter than mosquitoes . . . aren’t we?

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