West Nile paranoia/Cats are taking over
July 14, 2009
So they found West Nile virus in some mosquitoes in East Nashville. I hate those damned insects as much as anyone, but I get the feeling that media tends to overhype WNV a bit, so I’m here to give you the facts about it. The fact is, it’s not really that big of a deal. Most average, healthy people who contract WNV will never even know they have it; they will be asymptomatic. First of all, there are millions of mosquitoes in the Nashville area, and only a small fraction of them carry WNV (this number varies from state to state and from season to season, but it’s always relatively small). So your chances of getting bitten by one that has WNV are pretty small. Secondly, ~80% of people infected are asymptomatic and will probably never know they had it. Of the ~20% who do show symptoms, only a very few will develop the severe form of the disease (West Nile encephalitis). The CDC estimates that only 1 in 150 people (in other words, less than 1%) infected will come down with the severe form of the disease (which does require hospitalization). Only 44 people died from WNV in 2008 in the U.S. Approximately 36,000 died from the flu. In other words, your chances of dying from the flu are MUCH higher than your chances of dying from WNV. One major thing to remember though, is that people over 50 are more likely to get the severe form of the disease. That being said, you should still take precautions to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes. No one likes having mosquito bites all over their legs and arms. Use bug repellent and if possible, wear long pants/sleeves, especially if you’re going to be outside during the dusk hours. That’s when mosquitoes are active. Also, mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, so if you have any around your house (inside old tires, buckets, cans, etc…) simply empty them out. But for heaven’s sake if you have symptoms get your ass to the doctor. I’m not trying to say you shouldn’t be mindful of this virus, I’m just providing the facts and statistics, and trying to counter the unwarranted media frenzy that happens every year. Information taken from here, here, and here.
Though I’ve posted before (though ATTM I don’t care to dig up exactly when that was…) about the world’s fastest clapper, this entertaining video has the world fastest…. everything! (Via Kottke)
Do you have a cat? Have you ever gotten the strange feeling that your cat is somehow secretly controlling you, or that it was plotting to kill you in your sleep? The last part of that statement is a bit far-fetched, but some scientific research has discovered that in a way, cats really do control humans’ behavior. They’ve learned to make a unique combination of meowing and purring to create a sound that is universally unpleasant to humans. They use this sound when they want to be fed. More at Live Science.
Today I leave you with this video. It’s a cover of the Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights.” Thank me later…. (Via A.V. Club)