We’ll be feeding the mosquitoes memorial day weekend
So far, 1,993 people in 49 states have contracted the virus after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Eighty-seven people have died, including on elderly man from northeastern Pennsylvania.
Overall, there have been 16 human cases in Pennsylvania so far, with nearly one-third of them in Lancaster County.
Three of the West Nile cases in the state were detected when people not exhibiting any of the typical symptoms donated blood.
That prompted the state health department last week to send out an alert that urged doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants and others to consider West Nile Virus infection as a diagnosis in patients exhibiting fever-like symptoms or those with signs of meningitis or encephalitis.
Officials are worried because September is a peak month for the spread of the virus. The incidence of cases goes down after a hard frost — usually around mid-October — but cases continue to trickle in through November.
The postcards, which also warn of a recent outbreak of rabies in the Christiana area, urge owners to have their horses and mules vaccinated against West Nile Virus.
Vaccinations and a necessary follow-up booster shot cost about $80. For more information, go to the Edelson website at www.edelsonequine.com.
In 2002, the last time there was a large outbreak of the virus in local horses, there were 42 confirmed cases in Lancaster County.
Treatment after a horse is infected is successful less than half the time, Edelson said.
Many horseowners in 2002 did get their charges vaccinated, Edelson said. But no West Nile Virus outbreaks in recent years, combined with tough economic times, have resulted in far fewer vaccinations, he said.
We aren’t going to starve but neither are the mosquitoes either LOL!