Canadians Panicked by West Nile Virus : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread


People in the Ottawa area have been phoning health officials in record numbers concerned about the West Nile Virus. Officials have picked up 30 more dead crows, bluejays and ravens and sent them off to the Winnipeg testing lab. Officials say there is no need for people to panic. There have been no cases of the potentially dangerous virus in people.

-- Rachel Gibson (, August 26, 2001


It's remarkable how quickly the virus is spreading in North America...from never here (three years ago), the latest tally this year is 16 U.S. states (as far south / east as Louisiana), and as far north as Canada. I don't recall the furthest westward finding - it's in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan now at least.

Or maybe this isn't surprising, as we're talking about birds: they fly from here to there, and the virus seems to move with them.

*Panic* is certainly not called for. There *are* lots of things worth panicking over, but this isn't one of them.

-- Andre Weltman (, August 29, 2001.

*Panic* is certainly not called for. There *are* lots of things worth panicking over, but this isn't one of them.

Really? How about EXTREME concern? Or do you and those you care about have some sort of immunity to this DEADLY virus?

-- The Lights Are On (is@anyone.home?), August 30, 2001.

Oh dear oh my, the crazies do come out every time any health issue is raised. I am getting tired of this crap.

OK, sure, "reasonable concern" is fair. The emphasis must be on "reasonable." Not "panic." West Nile is certainly a real concern. Yes, avoiding mosquito bites is a really good thing to do. There are several other arboviruses that are *much* scarier and have been in North America much longer: go read about St. Louis Encephalitis or Eastern Equine Encephalitis for example; note the case-fatality rates and liklihood of long-term neurologic sequelae. (But also note the low number of human cases -- albeit much more than West Nile -- in a U.S. population of over 1/4-billion).

If you are so paranoid about all this, I must tell you URGENTLY about the many FATAL DISEASE-causing organisms that surround you... some of them are IN YOUR THROAT AT THIS VERY MOMENT. There's a very real chance these bugs are inside your body *right now*, particularly as we approach northern hemisphere Fall/Winter -- but causing no harm, very likely: Hey! there's some Group A Streptococcus on your skin [flesh-eating bacteria]; a thriving colony of Neisseria meningitidis [bacterial meningitis]; and look out, you just breathed in some Legionella pneumophila [Legionnaire's Disease]. Watch it! There are tetanus and botulism spores on that sandwich you bought at the supermarket! And the mouse droppings in your basement? Loaded with the DEADLY hantavirus! Sheesh.

Seriously, you need to evaluate risks more rationally, or seek appropriate therapy. At least, engage in reasoned discussion -- I will not respond further to your rants; you could have asked a question/disagreed with my comments constructively, but that's clearly beyond your abilities.

Don't forget: In the end WE'RE ALL DEAD!

[Add Paul Milnesque BWAHAHAHAHAHA here.]


Sorry to everyone else for my angry response, but I am in a crappy mood today and don't appreciate this. Unless someone else disagrees, I will keep on trying to offer some medical background when the occasion arises on GICC, just as others here kindly do with aviation, meteorology, etc etc... Or I'll just go away. I have lots of other things to do with my time.


For what it's worth, here's a little bit from the CDC website on West Nile:


[Note this sensible statement: "Human illness from West Nile virus remains rare in areas where it has been reported, and the chance that any one person is going to become ill from a mosquito bite is low."]

West Nile Virus: Avoid Mosquito Bites to Avoid Infection

West Nile virus is continuing to spread across portions of the United States. This virus can cause illness and sometimes fatal encephalitis (also called inflammation of the brain) in people, horses, many types of birds, and possibly other animals. It spreads through the bites of infected mosquitoes, but there is no evidence to suggest that it can be spread from person to person or from animal to person.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites

Human illness from West Nile virus remains rare in areas where it has been reported, and the chance that any one person is going to become ill from a mosquito bite is low.

You can further reduce your chances of getting ill by protecting yourself from mosquito bites. To avoid mosquito bites, eliminate standing water sources from around your home, always wear repellent and long-sleeved clothes when you're outdoors, and stay indoors during peak mosquito hours. Learn what you need to know about repellents, insecticides, and more.

Check to see what kind of organized mosquito control program—if any— exists in your area. If no program exists, work with your local government officials to establish a program. The American Mosquito Control Association ( can provide advice, and their book Organization for Mosquito Control is a useful reference.

Reporting dead birds

Many people now know that the virus hits many types of birds particularly hard and that dead birds in a neighborhood may mean that mosquitoes carrying the virus are in the area.

Most of the time, the bird's death was not caused by the virus. However, if you see a dead bird, you should tell your local or state health department. They may choose to pick up and test the bird for the virus.

See the Links to State and Local Government Sites page to find out how to report dead birds in your area.

PLEASE NOTE: Because CDC is a federal agency, we do not deal directly with the reporting of dead birds. State and local health departments are responsible for initiating these investigations. They report their findings to CDC.

Do you have other questions about West Nile virus? See...

Questions and Answers

Precise answers to the most common questions

CDC West Nile Virus Home Page

Detailed technical and general information on the subject

Links to State and Local Government Sites

Links to local information about West Nile virus

Emerging Infectious Disease journal featuring articles on West Nile virus (This issue of EID is devoted to West Nile virus)

-- Andre Weltman (, August 31, 2001.

Keep on keepin' on, Andre. Rudeness speaks for itself and does not deserve a second glance. Some people simply are unable to recognize when it is better to stay quiet and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and thus remove all doubt!!

-- Rachel Gibson (, August 31, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ