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West Nile Virus Warning
From Dr. Karen Andre'
I wanted to bring to your attention something I do not think is getting the attention it deserves and consequently you may not realize the real risk it is posing for all of us in Texas, especially here in North and East Texas. I recently gave a Safety Briefing to my US Civil Air Patrol Squadron and felt it was very important that I pass this on to you, in case you had not heard of it.
As of August 7th, West Nile Virus, transmitted by a strain of the vigorous Culex mosquito and perhaps other strains common in Texas, has been declared an official epidemic in North and East Texas. We have already had over 300 reported cases in this area, with at least 20 deaths.
This is a serious problem that should make us all proactive. According to the CDC, the infected mosquito population is unfortunately almost impossible to control and stop - it is only expected to get worse in the years ahead. It may be an exponential increase in incidence.
You may do your own research , But here are some quick details:
1. West Nile Virus came to this country in the late 1990's, and since then 2004 and 2006 have been the worst years. So far in 2012, our mild winter, wet spring, and hot summer have created a situation that is ideal for the growth and spread of this disease. August and September are the peak months for WNV. The virus (in infected birds and mosquitoes) is all over the US, but the worst areas are located in Texas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi. Sparrows, Robins, Crows, Jays, and Hawks carry the virus in this area. While many of these birds (especially crows and blue jays) may get sick and die from the disease, others may survive and not even appear to be sick, providing more chances for biting mosquitoes to get the virus from them. Mosquitoes then transmit the viral disease to humans and animals - horses are particularly vulnerable. There is an equine vaccine available for horse owners, but it is not always successful.
2. The mosquito breeds in any standing, non-chlorinated water, growing from eggs to mosquitoes in as little as 4 days in this hot weather.
3. The incubation period in a human before symptoms appear varies from 3-15 days according to immune status. Out of 100 people bitten by an infected mosquito, about 20 recognize they are sick. This version of the disease is called West Nile Fever. Symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, and tiredness as the predominant symptoms. They may, in addition, have lymph node swelling, sore throat and body rash. This may last a few days, and less often, a few weeks or even months.
4. About 1 out of every 150 who are exposed to the virus (or about 1 out of every 20 who actually feel sick) will develop West Nile Encephalitis or Meningitis - young children and babies, people over 50, and those with poor immune systems from a variety of causes are the most vulnerable. This is a neuroinvasive disease – leading to sensory problems, paralysis, seizures, etc and nearly 1 of 6 with this form die. The 5 out of 6 who do not are often left with long-term severe neurological deficits or paralysis. There is some thought that this virus is similar to Polio in that those who have unstable blood sugar levels - too many low levels (more likely in children, elderly and those in poor or compromised health) are more susceptible to this severe form of the disease.
5. Since it is a virus, there is no specific medicinal cure. However, there are reports of High dose Vitamin C (50-100 Grams a day) stopping the progression and/or curing the disease in 2-3 days, as in many other viral illnesses - reference the book Curing the Incurable, by Dr. Thomas Levy.
What can you do? Here are some tips:
1. The most important thing - get rid of all standing water around your house. Empty Bird baths, old tires, ceramic pots or trays, etc. If you have a garden pond, use fish that feed on mosquito larvae, and put “mosquito torpedoes” or “mosquito dunks” in tanks that you can (these contain a bacteria that discourages mosquito larval development and usually will not harm animals, so this is the best option for farm/ranch livestock troughs). Leave No puddles - an inch of water can breed and attract mosquitoes. Install landscaping around your home in the fall to help keep standing water away next year. Some people find that using a garlic spray around the home called Mosquito Guard helps repel them for up to a month.
2. For outside waterers or water troughs, emptying, scrubbing, and refilling every 2 days will give effective control by eliminating any larvae before they hatch into mosquitoes, as well as using the BTI mosquito “dunks” or “ torpedoes”.
3. Avoid going out at dawn or dusk when mosquito activity is at its highest.
4. If you must be outside, wear long sleeved shirts tucked in and long pants and wear strong mosquito repellent of your choice – look for “sportsman's” or similarly labeled mosquito repellent that contains at least 20% DEET (but be careful with children under 2). There are other more natural products, but these need reapplication often. Keep them readily available at all of your doors and bathrooms, so it is easy to use and find.
5. Keep ceiling fans going indoors and especially on decks and porches houses - mosquitoes hate wind.
6. Do not leave lights on around your doors - they are attracted to them. Blue-tinted “zapper” lights are not very effective – mosquitoes are most attracted to standard incandescent lights.
7. Avoid wearing Blue colors or floral prints. Do not start a slapping frenzy if they bite – other mosquitoes in the area will converge on you.
8. For immune health, take 4-5 grams of Vitamin C daily, and use other supplements (Elderberry, Zinc, Vit. D/E/K, etc.) and a healthy diet to boost your immune system. Eat protein at each meal to help keep your blood sugar level. Avoid sugary food and drinks - desserts, junk food, candy bars, sodas, and other food/drinks that raise blood sugar and then lower it.
9. There is some evidence that taking oral Garlic supplements will make you less desirable to mosquitoes, and that Vit. B1 daily will augment this effect.
Have a family Discussion/safety briefing about this, and discuss together the steps all of you can take to eradicate breeding places around your home. Ask every one to repeat the information to be sure they understand what they need to be doing. Assign your children a sibling buddy to help them remember dressing and repellant guidelines. Pray about it, and ask the Lord to protect your family as you seek to do what is right. Proverbs says "The Horse is prepared for battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.”
Research the use of IV Vitamin C, and prepare yourself with a document that requests it if you are hospitalized for this or any serious viral illness - have it on hand and notarized. Find a Doctor who knows about this. Unfortunately, since big Pharma makes no money on this, it is not widely known. I use Abrams Royal Pharmacy in Dallas, TX to supply me with non-corn derived Vit. C, and I follow the GABY protocol. You could mention this to your family doctor and perhaps help them learn something if they do not. Tell them about Dr. Levy's book.
Don't be a victim – research this for yourself and be prepared.
Karen Andre MD FACS is an Ophthalmic Plastic Surgeon practicing in Greenville, TX. She specializes in Eyelid, Lacrimal, and Orbital Surgery, Skin Care and Treatment including Skin Cancer, Autoimmune disease, Dry Eye, and Preventative Dietary and Lifestyle Health.