The West Nile virus has leapfrogged into California.
September 13, 2002 2:31 PM   Subscribe

The West Nile virus has leapfrogged into California. Don't you find it suspicious that there are no subversive theories of how this virus showed up at all in New York, and now in California?
posted by semmi (29 comments total)

 
Although there is this reference, "As concern about bioterrorism attacks and the appearance of diseases like West Nile mounts, UC Davis has joined forces with other local and state institutions and agencies to establish the Western National Center for Biodefense and Emerging Diseases."
posted by semmi at 2:34 PM on September 13, 2002


Umm, actually there is one.

It hasn't really leapfrogged, has it? It's in Indiana and many other "fly-over" states.
posted by internal at 2:36 PM on September 13, 2002


i just read one, semmi, by senator patrick leahy.
posted by moz at 2:36 PM on September 13, 2002


Opps, busted html, see moz's post
posted by internal at 2:37 PM on September 13, 2002


Sen. Patrick Leahy urged Thursday that the government explore the possibility of a terrorist link to an outbreak of West Nile virus that has killed 54 people this year.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 2:37 PM on September 13, 2002


Watch Out For Cuba!
posted by Blake at 2:38 PM on September 13, 2002


The CDC Page, but really, why worry, the chances of dying by West Nile one in 4.2 million.Chances of dying of, heart disease is 6,400 times more likely, cancer is 5,800 times more likely, chronic lung diseases is 2,000 times more likely, stroke is 1,600 times more likely
posted by Blake at 2:45 PM on September 13, 2002


The evidence is that it's transmitted by mosquitoes, and more recently, by transplants of infected organs. In our era of jet airplanes for cargo and passengers, it seems pretty plausible that a virus could leapfrog around without any need for bioterrorists spreading it artificially.
posted by eyebeam at 2:48 PM on September 13, 2002


Let's declare a war on mosquitoes. It will not end till we wipe out all mosquitoes. Why do we put in office "responsible" people who make silly, dumb, rash statement without allowing for evidence to prove their assertions? Oh. He is a Democrat. That explains it. No GOP person would propound such nonsense, for sure. Yep.
posted by Postroad at 2:49 PM on September 13, 2002


Skinner, the CDC spokesman, said the cycle of the disease and its transmission — from mosquitoes to birds and to people — is what one would expect with West Nile. "All of that points to this being a naturally occurring outbreak," he said.

Except in California they found no signs of the disease in mosquitoes or birds, and the woman who contracted the disease did'nt travel or had transfusion.
posted by semmi at 2:52 PM on September 13, 2002


All I wanna know is whatever happened to those killer bees that were supposed to destroy us all?
posted by ZachsMind at 2:58 PM on September 13, 2002


Well, you got me there, semmi.

But I just don't buy this as bioterrorism: even if you get bit by an infected mosquito, the chances of developing illness is only 1 in 200, according to this factsheet. Even then it's mild and non-fatal in most everyone who is not elderly or immune system-weakened.

If you want to unleash biological horror on the citizens of The Great Satan, wouldn't you pick a more dangerous virus?

If it is bioterrorism, it's lame and ineffectual bioterrorism.
posted by eyebeam at 2:59 PM on September 13, 2002


oops: should be "...are 1 in 200". Sorry, it's late Friday afternoon.
posted by eyebeam at 3:01 PM on September 13, 2002


Don't you find it suspicious that there are no subversive theories about why old people die of old age?
posted by yerfatma at 3:05 PM on September 13, 2002


Blake's right. Better still: If you are bitten once by a WNV infected skeeter, you are effectively vaccinated (whether you display any symptoms or not)

  • It only kills the (very) weak & old, and even then, plenty will recover fully
  • You can only be infected once
  • Almost everyone not weak or old will never even know they were bitten and/or infected.

    Why are these facts not more widely known? Cuz if they were, the press would lose a really scary (read: profitable) recurring story. Think about that, the next time you're being alarmed by the news...

    As for all the conspiracy links above: Shabby Shabby source links, people. I wish Matt would code a way for newsmax.com links et al. to be displayed a different color, like for instance, bullshit-brown.

  • posted by Fupped Duck at 3:07 PM on September 13, 2002


    Brown's reserved for MetaTalk, Ducky. =)
    posted by ZachsMind at 3:10 PM on September 13, 2002


    Blake, those are generic non-specific odds. The elderly are a high risk group for the WNV. As high as 15% mortality rate according to one source (sorry lost link). I would probably give more credit to the conspiracy theories if we were seeing retirement homes and hospitals being targeted, but that's just not the case. You're right though, as a mass attack its pretty weak compared to cheaper and easier to aquire alternatives like Sarin gas.

    The thrifty terrorists guide to choosing the right tool for the job.
    posted by skallas at 3:18 PM on September 13, 2002


    I have nothing serious to add -- just wanted to point out how cool I think the phrase "sentinel chickens" is.

    Sentinel chickens.
    posted by wdpeck at 3:23 PM on September 13, 2002


    Leapfrogged? Hello, another "fly-over" poster here. Wisconsin has had a number of cases.
    posted by kayjay at 3:59 PM on September 13, 2002


    whats that? one percent of one percent of the people who contract the disease die!?

    tell me again why this is a problem?

    dont mean to be calloused, but im sure swallowing marbles has a higher death rate.
    posted by Satapher at 3:59 PM on September 13, 2002


    I did some research on this about 2 weeks ago. Of course by now the disease has its own web site: westnilefever.com. I also loved this very cool map site which not only shows the sentinel chicken surveillance spots, but also the wild bird and human cases reported.

    West Nile is deadly to New World birds because they did not have a chance to build up immunity like the birds in Africa. So among the first indications of a new virus in town were the deaths of American birds in the NY zoo and the inexplicable death of several thousand crows.
    posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:02 PM on September 13, 2002


    im sure swallowing marbles has a higher death rate.


    Hmm, marbles in the water supply, now there's an idea...
    posted by inpHilltr8r at 4:04 PM on September 13, 2002


    To be more specific:

    crows seem particularly vulnerable, and monitoring programs focus on them. In fact birds were the key to solving the 1999 outbreak. CDC epidemiologists identified the West Nile virus and linked it to the human illness after pathologists found the disease in flamingos, herons, and bald eagles that had been dying at the Bronx Zoo. The virus has been found also in horses and a cat.

    From the Environment Writer, a guide for journalists published by the National Safety Council
    posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:09 PM on September 13, 2002


    It's like the fire-ants, killer-bees, and now killer-misquitos.
    Had the Nile-virus in my backyard at the beginning of summer. Also the earth gained weight around it's equator, I believe discussed here, and who had a cold winter last year which goes back to our new weather patterns. Yet history has shown these times too, the same weather patterns. What about the black plague? How long ago was that? way back. Recent times we lost grandfathers in WWI to the influenza.

    The cycle of life, I wonder what really will kill me as I've been dead medically twice. O' my what's new?; I can relax as I'm sure to die to which no one makes it out of here alive.

    The saying TMI.............now mean something folks?
    posted by thomcatspike at 4:11 PM on September 13, 2002


    crows seem particularly vulnerable, and monitoring programs

    SLofGravy, your right we were told blue-jays and crows to not touch, but to call authorities if you see one dead. Only those birds and I'm in the flight pattern of most migratory birds, per the authorities when it was found near me.
    posted by thomcatspike at 4:22 PM on September 13, 2002


    ZachsMind: All I wanna know is whatever happened to those killer bees that were supposed to destroy us all?

    They did. Then they replaced us all with exact duplicates.
    posted by Hieronymous Coward at 4:25 PM on September 13, 2002


    Leapfrogged? Hello, another "fly-over" poster here. Wisconsin has had a number of cases.

    And as if to demonstrate how deadly it can be to the very old, the first person it killed in Wisconsin, in my hometown of Madison in fact, was 94 years old.
    posted by schmedeman at 10:33 PM on September 13, 2002


    If it's killing off the old people, maybe it's our own government trying to solve our social security problem!
    posted by hobbes at 11:03 PM on September 13, 2002


    I just think it's weird that West Nile appeared in Queens in - was it '99? How many new virii pop up like that?

    I was on 6th Avenue in Midtown today and a guy was wearing a t shirt with a cartoon mosquito with a slash through it. The shirt said Mosquito Proof / The Bronx.
    I laughed, assuming it meant the bronx is too tough for skeeters, then wondered if he was actually demanding more pesticides for the boro. Tshirts should not be ambiguous damnit.
    posted by CunningLinguist at 7:18 PM on September 14, 2002


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