Friday, August 17, 2012

State of emergency after West Nile virus outbreak

Outbreaks of West Nile virus are pretty common, especially in the United States. About a decade ago, the number of deaths related to West Nile outbreaks were increasing, as well as the number of deaths due to infection. However, more recent years saw a drop in the number of deaths and mortality rate. Because the virus can cause lethal encephalitis, it is necessary to keep it under control. That is why the mayor of the Texan city Dallas has declared a state of emergency, after a recent outbreak hit a death toll of ten.

West Nile
Originally, the West Nile virus was reported to roam in the area west of the river Nile, hence the name. It thrives under tropical conditions, but somehow it managed to spread to the United States, where it regularly causes outbreaks resulting in a number of deaths. Infection can cause a variety of symptoms, ranging from mild fever to severe encephalitis, which can be fatal.

Dallas
One of the latest outbreaks was reported in the Texan city of Dallas. Ten people already died from infections, meaning something needs to be done before any more lives are taken by the virus. The mayor of Dallas declared a state of emergency and ordered aerial pesticide spraying, in order to kill the mosquitoes that transmit the virus from animal to human. According to health officials in Dallas, most of the people who died from the infection were already in frail health.

Outlook
Despite the fact that most people do not develop symptoms after becoming infected with the West Nile virus, and the death toll is dropping, it is necessary to stay vigilant. The outbreak in Dallas alone claimed ten lives already, and if the virus manages to continue its spread, there may be many more casualties. According to the mayor of Dallas, aerial pesticide spraying is a last-resort measure, highlighting how serious the situation is.
The mosquito that is responsible of transmitting West Nile virus to humans.

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