It’s still winter, but West Nile Virus 2003 is right around the corner. The disease promises to strike earlier and harder than it did in previous years when hundreds died and thousands were sick.
When West Nile Virus made its first American appearance in 1999, the season began in August and the people who got sick were in New York State. By 2002, the season was beginning in June and the disease had spread to 39 states.
The March 10, 2003 issue of the American Medical News predicts that in 2003 the disease will strike in all 48 contiguous states.
I expect the season will begin in April or May – when the mosquitoes start biting. I’m hopeful that a rapid test for the virus will be available sometime in 2003. The number one way to prevent West Nile Virus is to prevent mosquito bites.
This is a great year to learn about mosquitoes – their feeding habits, what turns them on, and what turns them off. All other things being equal, mosquitoes prefer to bite children rather than adults. Let’s not let all other things be equal for our kids!