West Nile Is Back

In what is becoming an annual ritual, the word has been spread in the just about every news outlet (OC Register, LA Times): the West Nile virus is back! In the OC, this year’s first infected mosquitoes were found in Fullerton’s Craig Regional Park. So how should one safeguard oneself and one’s family? Our friends at the Centers for Disease Control give the following advice: avoid mosquito bites! (I suspect it didn’t take a PhD in epidemiology to figure that out.)
So BEWARE! Or not. Between the two sources above, I cobbled together the following statistics: less than 1% of those infected are likely to develop “potentially fatal complication[s]” and last year in California there were 880 cases of West Nile in humans. So we’d expect that last year fewer than 9 people developed “potentially fatal complication[s].” (So far this year there have been far fewer human infections, but the year’s not over.) As a point of reference, in 2004 there were 1,367 traffic fatalities involving a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% of higher. My advice: don’t drink and drive.

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