The West Nile virus menace has now spread across most of North America, but it abates with frost and hot and dry weather that kills the virus-spreading mosquitoes.

Now it has mutated to be able to better withstand hot weather.

All diseases have their politics, as we have seen with brucellosis, AIDS, avian flu, MRSA, e. coli food contamination, etc.

The failure to develop a vaccine is another failure of the Bush Administration. In fact, the absence of any effort by the President to deal with this menace as it spread was the first clue to me that the weapons of mass destruction argument about Iraq was phoney because the sudden invasion of New York City by the virus by a viral agent given to Saddam Hussein back when he was the Reagan and Bush I Administration’s buddy in the fight against Iran, was the best candidate for a biological warfare attack, aside from the obvious anthrax attack in 2001.

Northern America May Suffer New West Nile Outbreaks. RedOrbit.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

68 Responses to Bad news for outdoors lovers: West Nile mutates in a bad way

  1. avatar TimothyB says:

    Interesting story about West Nile. But to bring President Bush into this seems a little extreme. While the mutation of West Nile is a concern I’m having trouble connecting the dots between this virus, Iraq, Reagan, Bush I, biological warfare and Iran.

    As you indicated in your post, politics does make it into things that it shouldn’t…like West Nile. Your tin foil hatting of this story certainly proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt.

    While I enjoy your blog and find many interesting stories, the negativity of Wildlife News is slowly driving me away. I believe that nature and wildlife need protection but a more positive message might be more helpful to this cause? How about including a few stories of just how great some of wilderness areas in the US really are.

  2. Thanks for your suggestions, Timothy B.

    Yes, we can do some good news stories; although I expect they will appear on their own when Bush and his cronies are gone.

    Today Kathie Lynch has one of her great Yellowstone reports. People will like that.

  3. Please request that we post Pocatello as soon as possible. We are currently focusing on States with confirmed Human West Nile Virus cases. You do have several “Hot Spots” of dusk to dawn mosquitoes as of 7/03/08 and I show it is still raining. Hope we can help. Let us know.

  4. avatar john weis says:

    This is a lot more complicated than this story makes it out to be.
    I don’t see global climate disruption as having much of an impact upon the virus itself.
    Immunity: They say:
    “In Europe, Africa and West Asia, where the virus was previously endemic, you’d see these big outbreaks and then they’d kind of disappear and then not come back for years on end,” Petersen said.
    “What we have seen in the United States, we’ve had repeated outbreaks every single year since 2002 — in fact, big outbreaks. This is an unusual pattern that not been seen before.”

    Any new disease runs through a sensitive population like a hot knife thru butter. It makes sense to have big repeated outbreaks in North America where there is little to no natural resistance to the disease versus that in Europe where new outbreaks occur in sensitive animals within a larger population of resistant animals. This has nothing to do with global climate change.

    Vectors: They say:
    “In hotter climates, mosquitoes die quicker, and therefore, cannot spread the infection as easily. According to Kilpatrick, the new strain should not have an advantage in southern states, but could make significant ground in northern states.””

    So are they saying the mosquitos are expanding their range thus allowing the new strain to expand along with? You can’t have one without the other. A more anticipated genetic change in the virus would be for it to expand its ability to infect a wider array of North American mosquitos thus expanding its range via expansion of the vector base.

    Evolution of pathogenic strains: They say:
    “Petersen reported that researchers could no longer find the original West Nile strain. The strain seems to have evolved naturally.””

    Which is to be expected if the virus is adapting to changes in immunity (or lack thereof) or host range. These would have a much greater selective pressure than somehow claiming the virus grows better during heat outbreaks. Viruses are obligate parasites: without a host cell to infect they are inert.

    I would not look to the virus per se, I would look at the mosquitos.

  5. W,
    I agree with you. All we are doing is showing you where the Dusk to Dawn (usually the Culex Mosquito) is breeding in your neighborhood. I know you are aware that the Culex Mosquito only has a life span of 21 days. It takes 12 days on the average for the West Nile Virus to replicate in the body of the mosquito (after it has bitten an infected carrier) before it is a threat to us. Knowing where these breeding grounds are important if you are looking to the mosquito. jrs

  6. I think you are right, John.

    This may indeed be due to the fact that most of mosquito species in North America are different than in Europe, so mutation of the virus happens (that’s how I read your conclusion).
    – – – – – –
    As an aside, I have wondered about the extremely numerous high altitude and high latitude mosquitoes. So far this is not where the infections have come from. If these mosquitoes become infected, it could have a huge ecological effect, including human infections.

  7. avatar john weis says:

    I honestly know jack about mosquitos except I dislike being bitten and I can tie a decent mosquito fly, but CDC has some interesting info including this on 62 different species of mosquitos that have been infected with West Nile in NA:
    http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/mosquitoSpecies.htm
    Any virus parasite like West Nile has two main issues for survival and expansion: how to live in the mosquito and how to live in the vertebrate host (usually birds). Humans, of course, are a dead end infection so there is little to no selection for enhanced human disease/infection.

    I wonder if European Raindeer have any WN infections? I would expect to see the endemic infection sites move north in Europe as well (if not faster) as North America.

    Amazing how everything is interconnected. It has been suggested that the reason why reproduction fecundity of caribou is down is due to the increase in mosquitos and black flies in the calving grounds: areas that in years past the climate was still too cold to allow the insects to become a nuisance. Now we may see mosquitos even carry West Nile up into such an environment.

  8. avatar vicki says:

    Okay, I was just diagnosed with West Nile Virus. I am relatively okay, aside from huge headaches, sore joints and neck, and some swollen glands. However, WNV is not a big concern, in general, unless you are already immuno supressed or have a physical condition that would make you react more severely to the symptoms.
    I knew if I got bitten, I might get sick…it was a calculated risk, I chose to take it, tried to prevent it, and will now live with my consequences. That is called being an adult.
    The problem is not just WNV, or just mosquitoes. The problem is that we instantly look to science to end our worries about WNV.
    This is the real epidemic, trying to fix what we break instead of preventing the damage to begin with. We, Americans, do this with nearly every aspect of our lives.
    We don’t want to be inconvenienced by the flu, so we get a shot, we don’t want to sweat, so we kick up the AC, don’t want to pay 4 dollars a gallon for gas, so we drill some more.
    The WNV is no different than any other virus. It will continue to mutate. SO, even if we could immunize humans (they already have began testing to do that, and animals are already being immunized) we will always be one year and one mutated strain behind.
    We saw this proven over the last two influenza seasons. We immunized a huge amount of the population. Still, about one third of those vaccinated got the flu. Why? Because the vaccine they received did not incluse immunity for the most recent mutations.
    Biologists take about as much time to figure out a vaccine for simple viruses as the virus takes to mutate….in the case of influenza that is about one year. But it took many years to develope the original vaccine.
    People talk of WNV as if it were just one virus, when in fact it has varying strains.(Like hepatitis, AIDS, etc.) We will have a shot to combat the contraction of many, but probably never all of them.
    The people most at risk should take greater precautions not to be infected. Stay indoors, where hugs amounts of deet, wear protective light colored clothing, avoid areas heavily infested with mosquitoes. When you begin messing with nature, expect that you will be out manuevered every time. It is like an unplanned pregnancy, the only way to have 100% prevented it would be to obstain from activities that cause it. Don’t blame the condom or the pill…you chose to have sex, you chose to risk it.
    We now have super bacterias that are antibiotic resistant, largely because we over medicate and do not allow people to gain natural immunity to common illnesses, ie: strep throat.
    This is a medical battle that will be here for years.

    The irony of all of this is that it parralels so many conflicts we have, and yet it is being made a far bigger media issue…
    like why immunize bison for brucellosis? What happens when that mutates? Would it not be better to let the bison gain immunity, and maybe even cattle, as it is not a life threatening desease?
    Or, what about the Pine Beetle? They said most of them should have died off during a frigid winter…. yet Colorado is becoming the world’s largest kindling box as we type. ow do we deal with that? Would we even try to deal with it if it didn’t cause a threat to houses?(If WNV only effected wildlife and not humans or livestock-most politicians wouldn’t give a hoot.)
    I could draw so many paralleles between this issue and others, but it boils down to this….
    We need to stop trying to change how nature effects us, and start figuring out how we effect nature.
    People, if you don’t want to get WNV, don’t get bitten by a mosquito. If you don’t want bears in your trash can, don’t live in the areas that bears frequent or put your trash in an appropriate container. If you don’t want to pay so much for gas, drive less or buy a hybrid. If you don’t want repeated boughts of strep throat, gain the necessary immunity naturally….suck it up.
    Now we are doing with mosquitos what we do with wolves and bears, blame them for doing what they instinctively do to survive.
    We are a spoiled society of whiners who try to make every thing in the world suit our ideas of the appropriate “standard of living”. Our standard of living is quite artificailly enhanced and because of our greed and selfishness, it is on life support. Now we are starting to pay the price for that.

  9. Ralph,
    100 years ago a Dr. A. R Charles Campbell discovered in San Antonio Texas that it took on the average 12 days for Malaria to Replicate in the body of a mosquito – after it had bitten an infected host. ( In the case of Malaria, the carriers were Humans. Today the carriers are birds mainly, the West Nile Virus still hast to have 12 days on the average to replicate in its body , before it can pass on the virus. You may not realize it but Bannock Co. had 23 Human cases in “06 and 5 in “07, Your state however went from 1 case in ’03, to 3 in ’04, 13 in ’05 and 996 in ’06. I have been tracking your mosquito activity for some time. All I can do is help show you where the threat is………… that is why I m asking you to ask for the Radar inages of your hot spots if you are interested. I think what you do not understand is that the virus hast to replicate itself in a vector. In the case of West Nile Virus it is our mosquito and it takes an average of 12 days to replicate – After it has taken a blood meal from a carrier. It can have a tremendous ecological effect, even on your project.

  10. Ralph,
    It might help you get up to speed on Mosquitoes by going to our web site and looking at some of the videos. They are very interesting and well done. http://www.friocon.org
    We still want to help.

  11. vicki,
    Where do you live? If you were diagnosed with WNV we need to see if it was reported. Your comment on: This is the real epidemic, trying to fix what we break instead of preventing the damage to begin with. IS RIGHT ON !
    All of the hype on West Nile Virus is Treating the symptoms – instead of cureing the problem , BEFORE WE HAVE TO TREAT THE PPROBLEM. West Nile Virus is 100% Preventable, you will start seeing this more and more. jrs

  12. avatar vicki says:

    John,

    I live in Greeley, CO, but most likely got infected in the Walden, CO area. I fish and hike there nearly every weekend. It’s pretty high up.

    My guess would be, Colorado and Wyoming will be hard hit this year as we have so much snow still melting and stagnant pools will likely last all summer as a result. I have told the clinic to brace for a bad WNV season.

    My positive should have been reported to the CDC by LabCorp when the test was positive, I will call the CDC on Tuesday though-to give them demographic info. I manage the clinic where I got tested. So, I will make sure it was done.

    I can tell you that I was only tested specifically for WNV because, aside from some slightly elevated eoso’s, my CBC was normal. We tested when we couldn’t find anything obvious to explain the wicked headaches, and my glands stayed swollen(still have both symptoms). My sed-rate was even normal.

    I asked around a bit, and because the tests can cost a bit, and there is no virus specific treatment, doc’s don’t test often. The tests are usually ran as an exclusion before further testing with MRI’s and US or the head and neck.
    Most docs I know suspect that many people have such minor symptoms they’d never be seen for treatment.

    A lot of people we’ve tested in the past presented with strep like symptoms..sore throat (glandular) , rash, headaches. They just didn’t get well as fast as they should.
    Normally(standard protocol) these type of patients will be tested for strep throat.

    When they test negative for strep throat, and their symptoms are not too severe, these type of patients are often told it is viral. They may have a throat culture ran. But likely are sent away with treatment instructions for symptoms.

    I can only imagine how many people are never tested and actually have had WNV.

    I worry more about residual neurological effects. I have a nephew who was positive a few years ago. I worry about him having effects later since we still know so little about the effects or ;ongevity of symptoms.

    I know some patients (one who developed encephalitis, some meningitis, some very little symptoms) have recurring severe headaches and some neuralgias too. That is more concerning to me.

  13. Ralph Moughan,
    Ralph we just got Colorado up and running. Go to http://www.friocon.org and click on BOULDER to see their Mosquito Activity as of 7/1/08. This is what I am trying to get for you in Idaho! jrs

  14. avatar vicki says:

    I wonder if birds are a bit over abundant in areas more highly effected. I wonder if WNV is worse in areas where there are high rodent populations and low small predator numbers? Birds would be very populous there. Maybe a lack or coyotes, and foxes etc. to eat the prairie dogs would mean an over abundance of birds?

  15. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    vicki,

    habitat is the important variable for bird diversity and abundance. healthy riparian (stream bank) areas = diverse & more birds

  16. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    changes in land management, he said, could attract more bird species, with the increase in biodiversity paying off in the form of lower human infection rates during outbreaks of West Nile or other diseases in the bird population.

    “Biodiversity is giving us a public health service that people have rarely considered and the value of this service should be considered when developing land and managing bird populations in the future,” Swaddle said.

    West Nile Virus – yet another reason to end destructive livestock grazing on America’s public lands

  17. Vicki,
    We have to stay in touch. I was just looking at Greeley this morning up and running. http://www.friocon.org click on Boulder and you will see where I am comming from. Send us an e-mail and ask us to put Greeley on the map for you. You do have mosquitoes (the dusk to dawn ones). my direct e-mail is js@friocon.org Since you know the full story on testing, I think we can really help each other to inform others…This is serious as you well know. I am glad you were one of the fortunate ones that have been exposed and did not get to the WNND stage or the Fever Stage. Go to http://www.friocon.org and look at some of the data and give us your feedback. I sure would appreciate it. I need your request for Greeley as we are concentrating on the States and Counties with CONFIRMED HUMAND West Nile Cases. I think down her in Texas you have to have fever for five days before they will even consider testing you for WNV?? jrs

  18. Vicki,
    We have to stay in touch. I was just looking at Greeley this morning while I was working of Fort Collins. We now have Colorado up and running. http://www.friocon.org click on Boulder and you will see where I am comming from ( this is the dusk to dawn) ” Hot Spots” of the mosquitoes breeding sites. Send us an e-mail and ask us to put Greeley on the map for you. You do have mosquitoes (the dusk to dawn ones). my direct e-mail is js@friocon.org Since you know the full story on testing, I think we can really help each other to inform others…This is serious as you well know. I am glad you were one of the fortunate ones that have been exposed and did not get to the WNND stage or the Fever Stage. Go to http://www.friocon.org and look at some of the data and give us your feedback. I sure would appreciate it. I need your request for Greeley as we are concentrating on the States and Counties with CONFIRMED HUMAND West Nile Cases. I think down her in Texas you have to have fever for five days before they will even consider testing you for WNV?? jrs

  19. Vicki,
    If you were fishing and hiking north of Walden you were in a ton of mosquitoes. We only concentrate on the Dusk to Dawn mosquitoes which are normally the Culex which carry the West Nile Virus. I do not know if you caught my other response , but it takes on the average 12 days for the West Nile Virus to replicate in the Mosquitoes body before it is a threat to us. Where is your clinic? Everyone is seeing an increase in ILI cases and I think it is telling us something about WNV. We are getting increases in ILI visits & we are not even into our flu season – is the answer I get most often. If Waldon is important ask us to put it up. I really need your request (if you want the info) to go through our web master. There is a place on the page where anyone in North America can ask for coverage – It just takes time & we are doing the State with the Human Cses first & working in the request. Enjoyed the visit. jrs

  20. avatar john weis says:

    Vicki, you said: “”The WNV is no different than any other virus. It will continue to mutate. SO, even if we could immunize humans (they already have began testing to do that, and animals are already being immunized) we will always be one year and one mutated strain behind. We saw this proven over the last two influenza seasons. “””

    Well not exactly. The WNV genome is a single positive strand of RNA that encodes all of the proteins of the virus. The virus can either have spontaneous mutations, or recombination if the same cell is infected with two different strains of the virus. But the net result is that, compared to influenza, the genome of WNV is fairly stable. Influenza, on the other hand, has a genome of 8 different minus strand RNA’s that encode various proteins. When cells get infected with two different strains of Influenza the resulting viral progeny can have a dizzying array of assortments of the 8 different RNA products. This is critical when you have a pig infected with a pig tropic virus, ducks infected with bird tropic viruses, and humans infected with human tropic viruses, and they all live together in the same domicile and they cross infect with each others influenza strains. Out of that noxious stew comes the various assortments of antigenic variation that makes the prediction of a vaccine for next year’s influenza epidemic difficult.

    But the real take home for you (and others already infected with the West Nile virus) is that you are likely resistant to a new infection of that virus for the rest of your life (unless the virus REALLY changes, or your immune response goes to pot). That is one reason I would not mind getting infected today, because getting infected 10 or 20 or 30 years from now (when I am old and gray) could make me a lot sicker than getting nailed right now.

    Love Waldon, by the way.

  21. John R Schuehle,

    This is amazing information! What do you need me to do to get this information for Pocatello, Idaho?

    I know the West Nile rate has been high and Bannock County (Pocatello/Chubbuck) and Bingham County to the north. I figured it was due to all the irrigated horse and cow pasture and the presence of the Culex tarsalis mosquito.

    People have died and there are some people permanently incapacitated.

  22. avatar vicki says:

    John Weis,
    That is all true, but the more we try to meddle, the more likely things will go awry.
    I wonder about tests that were done on women who became infected while pregnant. Those would be interesting to see. Colorado had a few such cases a couple years back.
    I can mutate, but with good fortune will not. You are right about the flu, and it’s propensity to mutate. However, we have far more control over spread of influenza than we do with WNV. People can wear masks, wash hands etc. But we will never kill off all the biters!
    I would say exposure now is a good thing for me too. A few years down the road, I may not be so well off.
    I do wonder though, about the rate of transmission. I read when WNV was first in Colorado, that the desease would be a passing thing as mosquitos carrying the virus would migrate and then die, thus keeping the desease from settling and becoming a permanent concern. I guess that who ever came up with that theory was a bit off the mark. So how do we explain the steadied rate of infection? We hear that it is mutating and can withstand higher temperatures. It is obviously in higher altitudes than once believed would be an issue.
    Again, I think it is most valuable to prevent this desease.

  23. Ralph Maughan,
    Please go to http://www.friocon.org and use the contact us, and ask that we include Pocatello, Idaho. Did you go check out Boulder, Colorado??
    I will work on it from this end. What has happened in the past is that everyone is treating the symptoms (ie: where the people live that are getting infected) they are not attacking the problen ( that is where they were bitten)
    Vicki hit on this approach. But one thing you have to remember is the reason we are not hearing more on the WNV is there ARE NO ANSWERS. No Shot & No pill to take – so why stir us up!!
    Get that request in and we can visit more on this subject AFTER YOU CAN SEE where the threat is in your neighborhood. Give me the approx location of your house. N, S, E, W I guess from the intersection of 86 & 15. One brief look at Pocatello showed the mosquitoes on the outskirts of town – but the Mosquitoes go to the food supply (ie: where the birds or people are). We can visit more AFTER I get you up and running… jrs

  24. avatar vicki says:

    jrs,
    I will try to put a request in later this evening.
    I manage a clinic in Brighton.
    I do hike north of Walden. NO great suprise then, huh? Well I began hiking there about mid May.
    Thanks so much,
    Vicki

  25. avatar vicki says:

    brian,
    another reason to outlaw bird feeders…okay, cows then bird feeders

  26. Vicki,
    WNV is a 100% PREVENTABLE DISEASE. But we have to get the female mosquito to where she is getting a blood meal from an UNINFECTED host. She hast to have a blood meal to lay her eggs. The culex mosquito only lives 21 days has to have a blood meal before she lays her eggs. She lays approximately 300 eggs every three days, and I know you knew that only the females bite. We have to locate the breeding “Hot Spots” of the pools of water and remove the drainage restriction or whatever is creating the stagnant water. But you have to know where to look. With my eyes and you on the ground – if we have a problem, you can report it to whomever is responsible and they can remove the threat – BEFORE WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE SYMPTOMS!! jrs

  27. avatar vicki says:

    jrs,
    What about bogs and marshy areas?

  28. avatar Salle says:

    So,

    Back to the topic of lack of vaccines….

    It is a significant piece of information to insert, at this point, that the vaccine manufacturing corporation that was given no-bid contracts for creating vaccines for WNV as well as Anthrax, Avian Flu and a few other nasty viral things that have come to public notice of late, lists Donald Rumsfeld as the CEO.

    Makes a little more sense when you think about it knowing this.

  29. avatar vicki says:

    Salle,
    Regardless of who holds a conract, having a vaccine available will take years. That is because of FDA regulaions. Even then. availability will not out weigh cost. The USA has the single most inflated pharmacutical market in the world. AOme would argue that ironci since we (meaning our government) have the abulity to not only afford and mass produce drugs, we could mass distribut them as well.
    That is an arguement about socialized health care vs. capitalistic medicine.
    Frankly, in my humble opinion, it ton’t make a damn bit of difference who got the contract, they are no different in their ability to sell that Sanofi/Aventis-Pasteur or Merck. The making of the vaccine is a minor part of getting it to the public, even Bush can’t get around the FDA without changing some laws. Though I have no doubt he would try.

    FYI, Belle Bonfils Blood Center began testing for WNV and a vaccine within a very short time after the virus became news. Equine and canines have a vaccination available. That says there is likely one available to be used on people, it is just under the scrutiny and testing of the FDA.

  30. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    vicki,

    i’m not sure that i follow.

    too many birds is not the problem – the finding suggests that areas of diverse bird species is one angle that promotes reduction of the prevalence of disease ~ it’s the same principle found in many wildlife communities — diversity dilutes disease.

  31. avatar vicki says:

    Salle,
    Also keep in mind that the HPV vaccine was available and tested on humans over seas for years before we had access to it here.
    When we finally did get access, the cost was so high (About 164 dollars per dose, 3 doses required) that most people couldn’t afford it. Insurances took months to cover it and some still don’t. Even now, over a year later, the medicine costs about 112 dollars a dose in bulk purchases.
    There were states requiring the shots before insurances would pay, and girls were and still are, unable to afford it it many cases.
    I am no huge fan of Bush, but those policies were in place far before he was in office.

  32. avatar vicki says:

    Brian,
    I get that, but too many birds in one area are often same species congregating in areas.
    If you have an over abundance of rodents, you will have an over abundance of birds too. Those wouldn’t be hummingbirds…but more likely crows, hawks, owls, etc. So you will see a higher concentration of certain species.
    Also, feeding birds artificially is just like feeding elk…congregation will occur. Sorry, I may be babbling as I am trying tp do this while holding one baby and chasing another.

  33. Vicki,
    let me know about the CDC report. You have my e-mail.
    jrs

  34. Vicki,

    Thanks for your explanation regarding vaccine testing.

    I don’t specifically blame George Bush and him only, but he is so willfully uncurious about almost everything. Every new event seems to catch him by surprise

    He surely liked baseball, however, and some say that what he really wanted (and still wants) is to be the baseball commissioner.

  35. avatar vicki says:

    Ralph,
    Then we’d have baseball players on the endangered species list.
    Bush is not the most forward thinking guy, hopefully the next guy will be.

  36. avatar natehobbs says:

    A forward thinking politician? That will be the day!

    Back to the subject,
    with several real experts commenting on this thread I want to ask,

    How seriously should I take West Nile? should I be buying a full bug net around my head, doubling my use of bug spray and taking every measure not to be bitten? I know the disease is out there, but should I let it ruin my trip and stay home, or sweat all day in gear preventing exposure to them? Or is it still at a stage where, ‘normal precautions’ suffice?

    When you are working around these trouble areas what precautions do you personally take?

  37. avatar kt says:

    After looking at the Website for the project and group that John R. Schuele describes (at friocon.org, I think Ralph’s intro to the topic lambasting Bush inaction on West Nile is correct. This group is doing what the Bushies SHOULD Be doing – if they cared a whit about humans or wildlife.

  38. avatar vicki says:

    KT,
    That may be true, but it may also be an over simplification.
    WNV, when compared to many other illnesses and problems, is not a huge concern, because…quite simply, notthat many people are effected.
    Yes, in some cases, the desease can be quite detramental and even fatal, but the vast majority of people effected are slighlty ill and it causes minor symptoms and inconvenience. It would be a bigger priority if it were a larger impact on the public. It will also be a higher priority if and when the insurances companies crunch the numbers and find that treatment is more costly than cure or immunization.
    Finding immunizations and cures, even treatments, costs a fortune. SO when you are a corporate or government analyst, you figure out how much the cost of the research weighs against the cost of not finding a cure or immunization. WHen you have deseases like AIDS, cancers, and influenzas that effect millions of people world wide, WNV effecting thousands pales and most often non-fatal in comparison. If WNV could be spread by people through casual contact, this would be a different story.
    SImply put, people who effected most often take a risk and place themselves in the path of the desease….it is possible to stay away from mosquitos, wear bug dope, protecive clothes…stay indoors.
    I know that sounds heartless, but again, it is a world of choices…some are hard and ugly. When you operate within a budget, it dictates how many people get help. Even if the money is there, research takes time, testing takes time, and the FDA guidelines for the use and release of medicine are pretty set in stone.
    FDA guidelines are the strictest in the world. That is why people across the pond have more treatments available then we do. To be released here takes more time and more money. (Example: AZT was used in other countries for the treatment of AIDS for nearly a decade before it was here. Majic Johnson received treatment over seas that put him into remission. It is the most effective treatment of AIDS, and has been shown to prevent inutero transmission in most cases. It is still more expensive here than in any other civilized country.)
    You can blame this on any number of bad policies, laws, politicians…but it is primarily the fault of law suits and capitalism.

    Nate,
    If you are a healthy person, WNV will not likely have much impact on you if you are infected. There is always the off chance it would though.
    You could wear netting, but using a high concentration of deet, hiking outside of danger hours, and wearing light protective clothing with long sleeves and long pants will help prevent most possible exposure. So yes, I’d guess it would be enough.
    I don’t work in the areas, but I spend three days a week in them. I got bitten when there was ostly snow on the ground…but I am Murphy’s Law Incarnate. I didn’t have bug spray on at the time, and had just been out of the truck to check for a route to a river. Go figure.

  39. avatar vicki says:

    p.s.
    I am not a doctor, intemologist, or expert.
    You can take the info, or leave it.

  40. avatar natehobbs says:

    Of course Vicki,
    I have been taking a few extra precautions this year; with photography being my hobby I spend a lot of time exposed in one place standing still near bodies of water at the peak hours for mosquito’s, dusk and dawn. I am probably more at risk than the ‘average’ outdoorsman.

  41. avatar natehobbs says:

    P.S. Glad to hear the disease was not serious for you Vicki may the symptoms disappear entirely quickly.

  42. avatar vicki says:

    Nathan,
    Thanks,
    I do photography too. I love moose, and so I spend a ton of time in marshy areas. One might think that it was inevitable that I end up getting it.
    I am doing well, and so I count myself fortunate.
    Good luck with the photos. WIth the seasons getting kind of wacky, I have noticed that certain things are less and less predictable.
    I see moose that still have velvet in late October. I see deer having fawns in late July… not as easy to anticipate. But hey, we can always count on mosquitos!

  43. Vicki,
    We should have Fort Collins up later today. Would you rather we focus on Greeley or Walden? Also if we point you in the right direction of the (Hot Spots) of mosquito activity, would you help us by taking pictures with your phone or whatever – we will publish the pictures so others can benefit from what we are learning. I am sure you understand that whatever pictures we put up are the Dusk to Dawn mosquitoes ( which are usually the Culex) which carry the West Nile Virus.
    How old are the babies? and I need you to e-mail me when you start getting mosquitoes in Greeley. I have something for you to use that will drive the mosquitoes off for 21 days, it does not kill them (it is non-toxic and chemical free) it just sends them away for 21 days (weather permitting) – their normal life span is only 21 days….remember. jrs

  44. natehobbs,
    I may have something you need to try to keep the moquitoes away the next you go out into harms way to take pictures.

  45. avatar natehobbs says:

    John I am all ears, im headed out to the marsh lands this weekend and a multi-day trip into the Yellowstone region next week

  46. avatar Salle says:

    Thanks Vicki, but…

    I know how drug testing and the FDA work, individually and together and it really depends on the politics since Bush took office. If you look into the shananangans the FDA has being investigated for in the past several years. I heard the discussion on the WNV/vaccine situation and the contract deal at least four years ago. Actually, not long after the anthrax fiasco played out.

    It is my guestimation that it’s one they decided to “sit” on because they hold the contract and did nothing with it after all these years. Nobody’s asked them what’s up with that and I think it’s time someone started asking.

  47. natehobbs,
    Send me your mailing address & I will send you some stuff that will repel (not kill) mosquitoes for 21 days (weather permitting) . I would like you to use it as a invisible protective curtain – without chemicals or toxins. You up to it. my direct e-mail is js@friocon.org take a little time and look at www,friocon.org We really need your imput- take a peak at the educational videos and HOW FNC DOES IT. I think you will be impressed! Let me know. jrs

  48. natehobbs,
    Tell me where you are going and maybe I can see what your mosquito situation is going to be??

  49. avatar vicki says:

    SAlle,
    Of course that is so true! Everyone should be policing our government and agencies. No doubt, if it were more frequently done we’d have more answers to many things.

    Bonfils began testing the first year WNV was an issue. They were doing it in order to insure the safety of our blood supplies.

    Keep in mind though, the fiascos going on with the FDA have been an issue for decades. Presidents don’t make laws. Trust me, I am no fan of Bush’s policies on many things.

    I do know though, economic policies take an average of 7-10 years to show results. Many of the crap situations we are presently enduring were set in place back in the day, courtousy of Clinton and Bush I, and let us not forget president Hollywood Reagan too.

    To blame only the current president and administration is justified, but limiting that blame is counter-productive.

    I would have to say that if I were a federal budget analyst, I’d place more research and funding into things like autism and drug resistant bacteria, and nerve regeneration. WNV is bad, those things are much worse.

    If we think about this with a realistic approach, it would be far cheaper to give out free bug spray, and way more effective. Atleast it would be in the interim.

    More people will spray on bug spray then get a shot, I’d guess. You should see the grown people we immunize and how cowardly they are! 250 pound men weep like babies and pass out.

    There is so much involved, it seems exhausting.

    I once asked an insurance CEO why more insurance companies don’t push for, or provide, affordable preventative care for breast/ovarian and colon cancer. It seemed to me that would cost less than chemo, radiation, surgeries and hospice care.

    He replied that if it were cheaper to do that than to provide care for those who become ill, they would. But the numbers prove the contrary to be more cost effective.—Not the most humane approach, but the most profitable.

    If they had a shot, they’d hype the desease to scare people into wanting the vaccine, or atleast you’d think. Then people would want to get it.

    People most often only get shots when they are required, or when they think it will help them live forever, in my experience.(Americans thrive on their drug induced youth and well being.)

    They certainly won’t make money sitting on the shot. I am quite sure Rumsfield wants his money.

    Bush is an ass, I agree….but he isn’t the root of the problem. He just isn’t fixing it.

    Maybe this isn’t politically correct here, but blaming the President for all things wrong in this country is like blaming the kicker who misses a field goal in the last few seconds of the game. It took the other 59+ minutes of screw ups to make the field goal the last hope of winning. He is just one person, the entire team lost the game. Same thing with Bush, he is one of a large number of screwed up politicians who created a mess.

  50. avatar sal says:

    “…blaming the President for all things wrong in this country is like blaming the kicker who misses a field goal in the last few seconds of the game. It took the other 59+ minutes of screw ups to make the field goal the last hope of winning. He is just one person, the entire team lost the game. Same thing with Bush, he is one of a large number of screwed up politicians who created a mess.”

    Clarification, in blaming Bush, I am implying that I am blaming his administration as it bears his name.

    Granted other administrations have messed up and messed things up but this administration is a mess of such phenomenal proportions that I consider it to be the mother of all bad in all bad administrations all balled up into one horrid administration exacerbating all problems to such a degree that it could be compared to pouring warm, dirty oil into an open wound. And many of them are the bad guys from those previous bad administrations, thus my intense lack of recognition of them as a true governing body worthy of my respect.

    Health care concerns for these folks is only relative in how much $$ it can render for the few deciders they cater to-the stockholders. If you think that public health as we the little people perceive it, is of any true concern to them, well I don’t know what to tell you.

    It’s one of the great social ills we suffer.

    I distrust the medical industrial complex so much that I don’t take anything anymore, not even ibuprophen.

    Medical science isn’t going to save us; they usually cause more harm than good in the long run.

  51. avatar john weis says:

    Sal, you said:

    “”Medical science isn’t going to save us; they usually cause more harm than good in the long run.””

    That is complete bulllshit. The two changes in human society that have saved more lives and increased the quality of life for more people are clean, safe water and vaccinations. Put yourself back 500 years ago with an average life span of the late 30’s-40’s with pinworms on your skin, nematodes in your gut, rotting teeth, constant diahrea, tuberculosis, etc, etc, and tell me medical science has done more harm than good.

  52. avatar vicki says:

    SAl,
    Well I was with up to the point that you said “Medical science isn’t going to save us; they usually cause more harm than good in the long run.” That I disagree with, most health care providers are guenuine in their efforts to hep. (MOST!!! certainly not all)
    You are correct, most definitely, in that this is a social ill and that health care is relative to money to these people.
    SAdly, I see many wrongs in the political injustices we endure. Too bad people who care about what counts are so dang hard to elect.
    I met a soldier the other day who was about to deploy for the third time… he said even most soldiers he knows don’t vote, because what happens and who gets elected never really changes things…
    The only way to change the ways things are done is to make doing the right thing more profitable. That is exceptionally difficult, given those who could afford to aid in the changes are profiting from blocking them. Sucks, huh?

    Capitalism may be the one draw back to democracy.

  53. avatar vicki says:

    p.s.
    Wow, way to go on dropping artificial meds. I manage a clinic and I try to be more hollistic in my health care.
    I still take Ibuprophen though. You must be quite healthy. How do you do it?

  54. avatar sal says:

    I try to eat foods that are grown locally, I can, preserve, and dry things, I am blessed to have a bountiful forest nearby that provides me some foods. I don’t eat much meat and what I do eat is organic 80% of the time, can’t get entirely away from it if you eat out at all. But I don’t use makeup and lots of chemical stuff on my body. I make herbal medicines for myself and just try to take care of my body like any other mammal would do. Pay attention to my surroundings and potential hazards to my well being.

    Most people tell me I looks more than a decade younger than I am but I don’t really see it. I don’t feel like slowing down either, I’ve always been an athlete of sorts so I have to maintain all that or I will decline rapidly. No laziness here. If I look at it, being highly physically active that is, as a way to keep my health, all the work of collecting and preparing my foods and medicines, it’s a no-brainer; it also costs less and limits my need to participate in capitalism.

    In some religions/cultures/belief systems preparing and eating your food are considered sacred acts and much contemplation of the ingredients and where they originate and how they came to you is carried out in the process. Food has more value, in most cultures, than Americans afford it. It isn’t about quantity, it is however, about quality.

  55. avatar vicki says:

    Awesome! I am really in awe.
    I am trying to make life changes. I have a few blockades to pass though.
    For me, the huge hurdles are time, location, and finances.
    Finances will be out of the rankings in about 5 years, and I will be entirely debt free in about 10.
    TIme though, well that one is tied into work and family.
    Location, well, with any good fortune I will have land in two years and a sustainable home on said land in 3…and my finances won’t suffer. That will enable my retirement to be off the grid and aside from basic necessities, monthly debt free in 15 years total. I will be 54. So saving is a requirement as I will be self reliant for my retirement income. I will likely work a part-time or seasonal job.
    I aspire to be more like you. Thanks for the insight and the example!

  56. avatar Catbestland says:

    Sal,

    I’m with you on the no medications thing. My liver was nearly ruined and my whole system poisoned a few years back when my orthopedic speciailist prescribed massive amounts of Ibuprophen to treat a back injury. I haven’t touched it or any other so called pain reliever since. I also make my own medicines from herbs. I also agree that one of the worst causes of bad health is the medical industry. They are not in business to heal the sick. What profit is there in that? They are in business to treat the sick. It is an industry and they are in it for the money. The longer you are sick the more money there is in it. Cancer is the biggest scam in the medical industry. It sickens me to know how people aflicted with this disease are exploited because of what the disease is worth to the medical industry.

  57. avatar vicki says:

    what meds do you ladies make for pain? My father is a chronic pain patient, and I’d like to help him if I could. He has had his back literally rebuilt 3 times. His spine collapsed and now sits square in nerves and cannot be fixed. His pain is severe.
    I know how you two feel, I lost my fertility due to a doctor being in a hurry, and a radiologist being complacent. I don’t see the entirety as bad, but I do see what flaws there are.
    It is a complex issue, no doubt. I don;t think the med industry causes bad health…lazy people with bad habits and crappy genetics do. The medical industry just aids in those people’s perception that a pill can cure anything. No one holds a gun to their heads and says “eat more junk food while watching t.v.”
    People need to own their own responsibility ofr their health, like you two have done. Bravo, you two are amazing.
    But if I had a dollar for every man or woman who said, “can’t you give me a pill to help me lose weight? I have no time to excercise, I am too busy to make healthy food.” I could take me, and both of you, all expenses paid to Hawaii, and then some.
    Americans in general, are a gimme society. They want everything easy, cheap and fast. The cost of that is irrelevant and can often be their health, financial or emotional stability.
    Do you (either of you) have any suggestions on good books about herbal treatments?

  58. avatar vicki says:

    p.s. I have watched doctors cry and grieve over their patients who die, and I too have done the same. I know a lot of doctors and I don’t think even one of them would sit back hoping a cancer patient stayed sick so they could make the whopping 52.48 a visit that they average per patient.
    Running a clinic is massively expensive. The single biggest contributors to failure of clinics is patients who bug out on their copayments/co insurances and medicare lowering rates so that the standard pay scales drop. Malpractice insurance rates are outrageous, and cause a lot of doctors to choose specialties over primary care, just to afford their malpractice insurance. (Example, Wyoming has a huge shortage of OB/GYN’s because the malpractice suits caused insurance to be too unaffordable.)
    Doctors incur more debt to go through school than most people make in 10 years-some pay nearly 300k. They make huge emotional and monetary sacrafices in many cases, and give up irreplaceable time with their children to care for people who are often hostile, rude and unappreciative. There is a national shortage of nurses, as many are aware. But there is an also a shortage of primary care physicians.
    It simply doesn’t pay enough to interest most college grads. The average pcp in northern CO probably nets about 130k to 144k per year…I know truck drivers who net more than that. (They make about 450 k gross, and then they pay out about 300-325k in taxes, insurance and overhead)If you take out student loan debt and continuing education costs… that drops a lot. If you figure they work an average of 70 hours a week, that pay kinda sucks for the work and stress they endure.
    They could easily opt to go into pharmaceutical research and make more with less stress…but the choose not to, so they can care for people.
    Not every doc is good, not every doc is bad. But I have watched more people die from cancer than anyone should have to, and no one I know wants that to end more than the doctors I am familiar with. To say they’d rather watch human suffering than heal it is pretty harsh.
    Again, I agree that there is a huge need for health care reform, but not everyone in the industry is an ass.
    The CEO of United Health Care gets a big enough bonus each year to fund a social health care initiative that would provide routine/preventative care to most uninsured children legally in this country. I think in 2006 he got over 90 million in bonuses on top of his multimillion dollar pay check. That much money, if donated, could pay for much more research than we could imagine….prevent so many kids from going hungry, aid in education….help teachers get paid what they deserve to be paid….Capitalism at it’s finest.

  59. avatar Catbestland says:

    Vicki,

    Try the “Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook” by James Green and “The Herbal Handbook, A User’s Guide to Medical Herbalism.” I also have a Native American Herbs manual but I will have to look for that one. It is my favorite and I may have loaned it to a friend. Thanks for reminding to track it down. All these books are full of useful information.

    For its anti-inflamatory properties try white willow bark, St. John’ Wort, Devil’s Claw, Marigold and Black Cohosh. A really great topical pain relieving poultice can be made from Arinca leaves. Willow and Arnica are plentiful around here. Lady Slipper is also very relaxing and can be found in Colorado but is VERY rare. There are dozens more and you can make tinctures combining any number of herbs. Herbs are very effective and don’t have the side effects of chemical medicines. I’ll try to find some of my other books and list them for you.

  60. avatar Catbestland says:

    Oops, “The Herbal Handbook, A Users Guide to Medical Herbalism” is by David Hoffman. Also try “The Herbalist, Apothecary’s Garden” by Joseph E. Meyer. I found it a little outdated though it is very thourough in plant identification.

  61. avatar vicki says:

    I have spent so much $ on books since beginning reading here.
    Cat,
    How is the weather down your way? Kicking mosquitos into over drive? I bet the fly fishing is great right now.
    I thought about you last weekend when I was hiking… I looked at every bear paw print I saw, just incase;)

  62. avatar Catbestland says:

    The weather is great here. We’ve been getting some rain. I am never bothered by mosquitos. I don’t know why. I think it is because I eat no meat and try not to eat refined sugar. There are herbs good for mosquito repelling too. I rarely use them because I am not bothered by them. I go hiking with people and they get eat up by mosquitos and I never get bitten. Maybe my skin is too tough. Who knows.

  63. avatar Catbestland says:

    p.s. I buy most of my books used from Amazon. You can pay less than a dollar for most and they are in really good shape.

  64. avatar Salle says:

    Some of my references include:

    The Herb Book, John B. Lust. Bantam Books-paperback.
    The Herb Book, Arabella Boxer and Phillipa Back (?) Hardcover. Took me ten years to find a copy.

    The Herbal Remedy Book for Dummies. Just got that one, you can probably find it where you the “for Dummies” line of books. I inherited my copy.

    With all that said, you have to be very cautious with the natural side of medicinals. What works for some my not work for others AND there is a lot of bogus info out there, even in the “Dummies” book. An example that I point to for Cat as well since I have encountered many who buy into the wrong info.

    Arnica for pain; not a good idea, especially over time. Arnica is a caustic which means it destroys tissue. It is more effective for relief of bruising by assisting the reintegration of pooled blood. Extended use is not recommended. I use comfrey, which the “Dummies” book adamantly warns against using at all. I use it for painful swelling in my ruined rotator cuff tendinitis, it promotes healing of tissues deep in the subcu and works best for tendons and muscles, the pain is relieved for several hours for each application yet it shouldn’t be used for more than a few days for similar reasons for not using arnica for long, it is to be used for an assist, not the cure.

    The paperback is the most useful guide I have found in my decades of herbal education and costs about five bucks. I am now in possession of my fourth copy.

    the other best source I can offer is a friend who KNOWS their stuff about herbs, bot a diploma from some high falluttin’ herb school but a real practitioner with a following. If they are willing to impart knowledge, soak it up. I have always found that my friendships with elderly folks useful for that.

  65. avatar Catbestland says:

    Yes, Arnica poultice over a period of time should not be used for pain. It can cause blistering among other things but I can attest that it works well for occasional knee strain and the associated muscle soreness. Combine the poultice with a nice calming cup of skullcap tea and it can provide some very effective pain relief. Arnica can also be used as a counter irritant (blistor) on hot equine tendons and blown suspensory ligaments.

  66. Ralph Maughan & Group
    Ralph as per your request I have your home town up and running. See your Dusk to Dawn Mosquito activity from 7/3/08.
    I hope this is OK on short notice. js

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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