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It’s West Nile Virus Season

by Albert Fuchs, M.D.

July 24, 2009 | 7:09 pm

The news is still flooded with stories about Swine Flu, which will continue to demand the attention of public health officials, but probably doesn’t need much more attention from the public.

Meanwhile summertime brings mosquitoes which bring West Nile Virus.  West Nile Virus is transmitted to people by mosquito bites.  Most infected people have a very mild illness, but some develop encephalitis (brain inflammation) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord).  There is no vaccine or specific treatment.  Last year in California 445 people became ill with West Nile Virus and 15 died.  This year West Nile Virus has been identified in animals in California, but no people have yet been infected this season.

So instead of worrying about Swine Flu, which there’s not much you can do to avoid, why not take a few steps to prevent getting infected with West Nile Virus?  The CDC recommends that you

  • Use mosquito repellant whenever going outside,
  • Eliminate standing water where mosquitoes can lay eggs, and
  • Install or repair window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out.

That’s all.  You may return now to wall-to-wall coverage of the Swine Flu.

Tangential miscellany:

In an article in the LA Times this week (link below) Dr. Rahul Parikh extols the virtues of communicating with his patients by email and using electronic medical records!  Check it out and forward it to any doctors who still communicate by carrier pigeon or keep records on papyrus.

Learn more:

The Centers for Disease Control webpage on West Nile Virus

LA Times article:  The doctor is in and logged on

Important legal mumbo jumbo:
Anything you read on the web should be used to supplement, not replace, your doctor’s advice.  Anything that I write is no exception.  I’m a doctor, but I’m not your doctor despite the fact that you read or comment on my posts.  Leaving a comment on a post is a wonderful way to enter into a discussion with other readers, but I will not respond to comments (just because of time constraints).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Practicing internal medicine in Beverly Hills since 2000, Dr. Fuchs brags that his practice is “tiny and meant to stay that way.” He has blogged for the past three years...

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