Pharos-Tribune

August 23, 2013

OUR VIEW:


Pharos-Tribune

---- — West Nile? Are we really talking about this again?

Yes. Yes, we are. Oftentimes, when we’re faced with an ongoing problem that never seems to get resolved, we tend to start tuning it out. And when it comes to another summer of reported West Nile cases, many people have stopped listening.

No one I know has gotten the disease and died, so it’s not something I need to worry about, they’ll tell themselves. It’s not a big deal, they’ll say.

That just isn’t true.

More severe West Nile infections are marked by rapid onset of a high fever with head and body aches, stiff neck, muscle weakness, disorientation, tremors, convulsions and, in the most severe cases, coma or paralysis. In some individuals, it can cause permanent neurological damage or death.

In Indiana last year, eight people died from the virus.

Are we trying to scare you? Nope. Just trying to shake off the apathy caused from repeated usage of the words West Nile.

Now you might be saying if it really is such a big deal, there’s nothing I can do about it anyway.

Again, not true.

Did you know that even a small bucket with stagnant water in it for seven days can become home to up to 1,000 mosquitoes? You can make a big difference by simply dumping that bucket in your backyard.

And once you’ve done that, looked around for other sources of standing water. Open septic systems, discarded tires, unused wading pools, assorted containers, sewer catch basins — they’re all perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

So, were you in the category of people not listening when we reported in Thursday’s edition that Cass County officials were notified three samples of mosquitoes were tested positive for West Nile Virus earlier this month?

Did you say to yourself it’s time to take precaution, or did you say that doesn’t affect me?

Either way, hopefully you’ll listen to these tips offered by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention about how to protect yourself and stop the spread of the virus:

How to protect yourself

• If possible, avoid being outdoors during prime mosquito biting times from dusk to dawn

• Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin or oil of lemon eucalyptus to clothes and exposed skin

• Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home

• When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants while outside

How to stop the spread

• Discard old tires, tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or other containers that can hold water

• Repair failed septic systems

• Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors

• Keep grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed

• Clean clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves tend to plug up the drains

• Frequently replace the water in pet bowls

• Flush ornamental fountains and birdbaths periodically

• Aerate ornamental pools, or stock them with predatory fish

THE ISSUE OUR VIEW