West Nile: It's Not Just a River In Egypt Essay

West Nile: It's Not Just a River In Egypt Essay

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West Nile: It's Not Just a River In Egypt

These Americans will go mad over just about anything. Lately there has been so much news coverage about "the West Nile Virus" my head is spinning. What I don't understand is why they are finally becoming concerned with it now! The news reports on the television say that it has been present in animals and humans on other continents for years though it was only documented in 1999.[1] It has taken what seems like a long time to spread across the continent to California. However, being a student of history myself I know that usually epidemics in the past have taken much, much longer to spread such distances. Seeing as this disease was present on all other continents but this one for so long it makes it difficult to track its entrance into the U.S., but the American scientists say the strain of West Nile they have here most closely identifies with strains from the Middle East.[1]

Every time I turn on the telly there is some well groomed reporter standing near an area deemed "high risk" such as ponds in parks. In her clear harsh American tone she warns to stay indoors at dusk, to avoid areas with standing water, and use plenty of insect repellent.[2] You see they have found that this virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, and those conditions tend to make people come in close contact with them. She then lists warning signs for the fever that accompanies contraction of the virus, rattling on about things that could just as easily be something else. Fever, head and body aches, nausea[2]--all things that could accompany any illness; the flu, a cold, food poisoning or even a hard days work. Why must all sicknesses exhibit the same symptoms? They say that the infection of the body c...

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...ted for this year in California. Being so young I'm not as concerned about this as the older population is, but I am just as affected by the sensationalist news reports, "WEST NILE WATCH 2003," that interrupt programs every fifteen minutes. There really is a feeling of impending sickness that will sweep over us all, but luckily it doesn't seem to strike. It is definitely something that the populace here has been educated about, and warned about, but has yet to affect a widespread group of people negatively. On the contrary, I'm sure bug repellant sales are up, as well as doctor visits for flu-like symptoms. We are all more aware, many are frightened and hopefully few will ever have reason to be.


1. www.bayeradvanced.com/garden/west-nile-virus/

2. Hitti, Miranda. "West Nile Fever Worse Than Expected,"

3. www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/

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