Thursday, September 13, 2007

5 very good reasons to swat those mosquitoes

Poor little mosquitoes. One minute they’re just minding their own business, stopping to quench their thirst, and then whap! Suddenly their lives come to a screeching halt. Well, don’t feel too sorry for the suckers. Here are five reasons to keep on swatting.

3. West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus used to be found only in Africa, Eastern Europe, West Asia, and the Middle East. However, in 1999 cases were documented in the northeastern United States. That means that our generation is witnessing this disease’s territory expand.

Culex mosquitoes transmit the virus, and birds act as virus reservoirs, where the virus can multiply so more mosquitoes can pick it up. People are known as dead-end hosts because while we do get sick, we don’t pass on the germs.

Short-term symptoms of West Nile fever resemble the flu, and this form of the disease is more common because a healthy immune system can usually fight off the virus. And while West Nile encephalitis affect less than 1% of infected people, it is much more serious. In this form the membranes around the brain became inflamed, which can result in neurological damage or death.

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