The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the person of Roger Nasci, Chief of the CDC branch that tracks insect-borne diseases (the Arboviral Diseases Branch of the Vector-Borne Diseases Division), assures us that the situation is serious and we haven’t seen the end of it. In fact, the height of WNV infections is in August and September and continues through October, so we are still climbing that mountain. Dallas has already eclipsed the WNV record of 2004 and with the season just starting, the overall prognosis is not good. So, why are so many Texans copping the old Alfred E. Neuman, “What, Me Worry?” line? We don’t have a clue save an abject, stubborn ignorance or arrogance or likely a combination of the two.
North Texas now reports 254 WNV Human cases and six deaths (only ones in the US). If you aren’t impressed yet – as of Thursday August 2, 2012 Dallas County is reporting 115 human cases of WNV and five confirmed deaths. In order to put this in perspective as of 7/21/12 there were 75 Human WNV cases in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton Counties combined with two reported deaths in Dallas County.
We just don’t get it when the WNV topic invariably comes up and you get the, “It can’t happen to me” or “It’s just too hot to wear long sleeves.” rationalizations thrown back at you. As we advised in a recent post, let’s not hyperventilate about WNV, but let’s not be stupid and invite illness either. The CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) encourages us to adopt several easy and really unremarkable practices in order to reduce the risk of exposure. They are: eliminate standing water (especially in those flower pot saucers, bird baths and roof gutters) and other obvious mosquito breeding areas around our homes; make sure that all door, porch and window screens are in good condition; reduce outdoor activity during evening/dusk to dawn hours; if you must be outdoors during those times, cover exposed skin as much as possible (tightly woven, light colored long sleeved shirts and pants), use a mosquito repellent that contains DEET and lastly build bat habitat (more later in another post - seriously) and let Mother Nature help you/us.
Our zip code of 75248 has several confirmed cases of West Nile so we know it’s here. We have been spraying in and around the house and that has helped considerably. Now is the time for neighbors to help neighbors. We encourage you to offer your assistance to those either without the resources or the ability to spray and protect themselves. We have several in our neighborhood who have been spraying and advising folks of the dangers of West Nile. Please do your part…
Given our ongoing 106+ degree Texas heat, tonight I moved some of our potted plants to nearby sprinklers so at least they will have a chance to survive. Yes, I had a hat on, light colored long sleeved shirt with collar up, long pants, socks and I applied a hell of a lot of DEET.
And if you haven’t already bought your favorite brand of mosquito repellant then you better fly to the store if it’s not already too late. Call ahead as many retailers are reporting that their stocks have sold out. There are already stories of folks traveling fifty or more miles just to buy bug dope. Guess some folks have finally gotten the message…
And if you are headed our way, bring an awareness, a sense of caution and your smarts with you unlike the guy walking his dog at 6:30 this morning wearing a black form fitting t-shirt, black short shorts (cute?) and deck shoes. Real bright, not.