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CDC Reports Large West Nile Virus Outbreak

One dead bird in Alameda County has tested positive for the virus, 14 in Contra Costa County.

This summer has seen one of the largest outbreaks of West Nile Virus since the mosquito-borne illness first appeared in North America in 1999, officials from the Centers for Disease Control said Wednesday.

Last week, the Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District reported that a . It was the county’s first for 2012. So far, 14 dead birds in Contra Costa County have been found to carry the disease. There have been no reported cases of humans with West Nile Virus in Contra Costa or Alameda counties.

See West Nile Virus numbers for all of California on the state's website. 

Across the country, there are 1,118 reported illnesses. A normal year sees only 300 such cases by mid-August, according to the Washington Post. Half of the illnesses reported this year are in Texas. 

West Nile virus symptoms may include headache, fever, body aches, vomiting, nausea, swollen lymph glands, and skin rash on the chest, stomach and back.

Approximately 80 percent of people who become infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms, although some 20 percent will develop West Nile fever.

Of those, less than 1 percent may develop a more severe form of illness with symptoms such as high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, paralysis and in extreme cases death. While there is no cure for West Nile virus, it is preventable.

Residents can help reduce the threat by eliminating unnecessary standing water in discarded tires, buckets, kiddie pools and stock backyard ponds or other permanent water features with mosquitofish. The fish are free and can be delivered or simply picked up at the District office. Residents are encouraged to report mosquito problems, neglected swimming pools or dead birds to the West Nile virus hotline at 1-877-968-2473 or online at www.westnile.ca.gov.

Thomas Graves August 23, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Yesterday, I walked over to see the progress on the demolition of the pools at San Leandro High, I was shocked to see a pool of green water in both pools. Hard to believe that a demolition project this large is run by someone that is not aware or heard about west nile.
CHACHA August 23, 2012 at 09:02 AM
WHY DIDNT U REPORT THEM/IT TO THE COUNTY OF ALAMEDA HEALTH DEPT/MAYOR, SCHOOL DISTRICT SUPR, VECTOR CONTROL AND CDC???!!!
Chris Kapsalis August 23, 2012 at 02:12 PM
It is more the nuisance of mosquitoes that I worry about than getting West Nile. They need some mosquito fish in those pools if true. But symptoms of West Nile are similar to the flu, yet you would actually be better off if it was West Nile you had and not the flu, since the flue kills 720 times more people a year than West Nile does. I believe it is more about ratings for the 6 o'clock news than concern for public safety. Yes it is a concern, but be 720 times more concerned about getting the flu imo. Bee's even kill more people than mosquitoes carrying West Nile do.
CHACHA August 23, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Mr Chris K, i dont know where you get some of your "twisted" info but thank god your just home based independent a farmer and not a politician or a quake doctor! West Nile virus can and will "critically affect many" but mostly the young and old people and who may have weak or compromised immune systems. Some store bought Insect repellant doesnt always work on "all types" of mosquito's, Burt's Bee's puts out a "citronella oil" based product you run-on over exposed skin area that works for most insects, also heard that "store bought fabric softner sheets ie.Cling, etc" works if u tear them in strips and place them in your pants and shirt pockets, I guess the scent/smell deters mosquito. ps. Beware that this virus can also create havoc in your body later-on in life affecting/infecting your kidneys function too (info, studies documented by doctors, scientists, entomologists, sorry but not farmers)!
William Carman August 23, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Bring your dog to Rancho Laguna park, thats where all the blood suckers (mosquitos) hang out. I guarantee if you forget to take your vitamin B. Or dont put on your bug repellent, youll get bitten.... By a mosquito. Dont know if the virus has made it to the park yet though.
Chris Kapsalis August 23, 2012 at 08:12 PM
I got my "twisted" info from The Centers for Disease Control . Thank you.
Chris Kapsalis August 23, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Yes West nile effects many, but the flu is as I said about 720 times more likely to Kill you than West Nile is.
anthony August 23, 2012 at 09:24 PM
CDC website/ West Nile Virus Homepage... http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm
EUGENIA BEMIS August 24, 2012 at 01:22 PM
I take B-12shots every month. will that help? I haven't had one miggie bite!
John August 24, 2012 at 02:05 PM
That seems to be a popular myth and a very popular Google search too. My gut answer (having a grad degree in bio) was no. Upon consulting the all mighty Google, every site on the first page said no. https://www.google.com/search?q=will+b12+shots+prevent+mosquito+bites&sugexp=chrome,mod=7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
paul1 August 31, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Chris Kapsalis: you're misusing and/or misunderstanding the statistics. You have a much higher probability of getting the flu than getting WNV. That (of course) is why there are more flu deaths. That's completely different from your probability of dying GIVEN that you have the flu or the WNV. The mortality rate of people suffering from WNV in recent outbreaks in this country is between 2.5 and 5% or so. In contrast, http://www.virology.ws/2009/06/16/how-many-people-die-from-influenza/ reports worldwide death rates from seasonal flu at less than half a percent. So you got it completely backwards: assuming you want to live, you would be better off getting the flu than the WNV, any day. What you said is equivalent to: "you're better off jumping off the GG bridge than getting the flu since you're thousands of times more likely to die from the flu than jumping off the bridge."
Chris Kapsalis August 31, 2012 at 09:00 PM
No I;m sorry you have it backwards. Yes, you are much more likely to get the flu, and die from the flu, than West Nile. What was it, 720 times more likely? So why are we so focused on West nile and not the much much bigger threat the flu? Also your analogy of the GG bridge makes zero sense.
paul1 August 31, 2012 at 09:29 PM
You're not getting it. You said you'd rather get WNV than the flu. You then cited statistics about how much more likely you are to die from the flu. But those statistics have to do with the likelihood of GETTING the flu, not likelihood of dying from the flu once you get it. Since the death RATE for WNV is five to ten times what it is for flu, unless you have a death wish, you'd rather get the flu. Get it? This is an obvious point. The GG bridge analogy is perfect, though somewhat extreme (which is usually the point of an analogy). As to what we should be focused on (flu or WNV), that's another issue. I was simply responding to your misapplication of statistics to which disease you're better off getting.
Chris Kapsalis August 31, 2012 at 11:23 PM
We will never know how many people are exposed to the flu each year in the US. How many come down with the flu and do not die...? We will not exactly know that. But we do know around 36,000 die from the flu each year. We do know less than 100 die from West Nile. I see your point, however, out of millions upon millions of mosquito bites a year in US, as I said, the flu is much more serious in all respects imo. And worthy of much more media attention and concern from people. Preventive measures and so on. I fear the flu much more than West Nile. West Nile is a concern yes, but it pails in comparison to the flue. IMO. Fact is we do not know how many are exposed to either and either never contract it or do and never show any symptoms, or how many go to the hospital who do have some symptoms. It is all a guessing game except the numbers they have. And all the numbers I have seen point to the flu being much more deadly than West Nile is in every regard.
Chris Kapsalis August 31, 2012 at 11:31 PM
And still I cannot understand how jumping form a brige on purpose can relate to contracting a virus. Both are out there, but one is 720 times more likely to kill you. Both risks can be reduced greatly by a few simple precautiions, yet one gets all the hype? Why? I do understand what you are saying though. But again, we do not have the numbers. We do not know how many are exsposed to either, get it, and do not show any symptoms or get a checked out. We do knwo the flu is much more dealy though.
paul1 September 01, 2012 at 12:27 AM
You said you're better off getting the WNV than the flu. That is what I'm disputing and nothing more. The number 36,000 is irrelevant to that point. The WNV is more deadly IF CONTRACTED than is the flu, if contracted. That is indisputable based on all available evidence. End of story. If you still don't get the GG bridge analogy, insert "develop pancreatic cancer" in place of "jumping off the GG bridge" and you'll get the gist.
Chris Kapsalis September 01, 2012 at 12:57 AM
I do see your point. I checked West Nile. I will have to check the flu exposed rate-infected-show symptoms-sick-death rate to compare. Those number are hard to get. Even on west Nile. Most do not show any symptoms who contract West Nile right? So how would we know the real numbers? So you could be right. If so I stand corrected. I will check. I will bet it is close. However, you are still 720 times more likely to get and or die form the flu than West Nile. Also, both West Nile and the flu are not completely preventable, close. You can greatly lower your odds. Jumping from a bridge is preventable 100% by not going on a bridge. So I still don't get that one.
Chris Kapsalis September 01, 2012 at 01:03 AM
That is indisputable based on all "available evidence." Key words here. We will never know the real numbers because most who get it do not even show any symptoms and or report it. Let alone get medically tested for it. So this is a big guessing game, which I should not have assumed what I did. You are correct on that one point.

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