by Kase Wickman
No human cases have been reported this summer, as of yet, but keep an eye out for the mosquitoes. Beyond being obnoxious and itchy, a bite from the flying menaces can now add the joy of West Nile virus to your life -- fever, disorientation, rashes and chance of paralysis or coma included for no extra cost!
Steven Crawford, of the Jefferson County Health Department, shared some not-so-reassuring thoughts about the recent discovery with KMOX (emphasis added):
"We usually do not see adult mosquito controlled populations testing positive for the virus until about mid-July. It usually peaks around August...We're seeing our earliest cases for adult mosquitoes with West Nile in June and late May, which is very very unusual. That indicates a potential for a very active season for West Nile."
Thanks for putting us at ease, Steve!
Meanwhile, health officials say that one way to help protect yourself against West Nile-bearing bites is wearing long sleeves and long pants when outdoors. If you take this advice, bring along a few bottles of water to try and combat the inevitable heat exhaustion and dehydration you're sure to suffer for following their advice.
In the meantime, while we wait for this "very active" West Nile season to begin (yippee!), you can freak yourself out by reading up on the symptoms of West Nile, and then soothe yourself with these West Nile prevention tips.