Tag Archives: West Nile virus

Mosquito populations booming after rains: Three varieties to worry about, control and repel

That familiar buzz and bite are signs that mosquito season in Texas is here, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife entomologist. Sonja Swiger, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist and associate professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Entomology, Stephenville, said biting mosquitoes are a seasons-long problem that often changes based on the environment. Which species are present and whether mosquitoes are an annoyance or vectors for diseases likely depends on those conditions, she said. Similarly, the temperature, availability of water and type of water available, such… Read More →

Where has West Nile virus gone?

If it seems you’re hearing less about West Nile virus (WNV) this summer, you are not imagining it.  Although mosquitoes have been abundant this year, for some reason the virus has remained relatively quiet in 2019. Where has WNV gone? A paper written by epidemiologist Dr. Wendy Chung and colleagues in 2013 may offer some insights on the absence of the virus this summer. Those of us who lived in Dallas in 2012 may remember that summer as the worst human outbreak of WNV ever.  Nearly 400 cases were… Read More →

Dr. Don R. Read

The next best thing to being great, it’s been said, is walking next to someone great. I am grateful to have had the chance to meet and get to know the late Dr. Don R. Read, who passed away on March 21, 2019. He was one of our local colorectal surgeons in Dallas, and a great man in many ways. Dr. Read made his (unfortunate) acquaintance with entomology in 2005 when he was bitten by a mosquito infected with the west Nile virus. He told his story of… Read More →

Mosquito threat highest Now

In 2012 Dallas was the national epicenter of a West Nile epidemic.  A mild winter and very hot summer combined to make conditions that resulted in approximately 400 reported cases and 19 deaths in Dallas county alone.  While 2015 has not approached the mosquito numbers or disease transmission potential of 2012, this year’s data suggests that risk for getting a WNV infection from a mosquito is peaking higher than any time since then. Traditionally the potential for WNV transmission peaks in August and this year looks like no… Read More →

Time for repellents

Yesterday the Texas Department of State Health Services announced the first 2015 case of West Nile virus in Texas.  Coincidentally, Dallas County Health and Human Services issued a health advisory reported the first positive mosquito pool of the year was collected Wednesday. And to add insult to injury, this week my wife and I both got our first chigger bites of the year. All of this is a good reminder that summer is around the corner, and that insect repellent is our best defense against the less savory… Read More →

Mosquito juice and science

Have you ever heard some scientific claim on radio or TV say something that made you stop and ask: “How do they do that?” Apparently this question bugged someone enough this week to call their extension agent and ask “How do you guys really know if a mosquito has west Nile virus?”  I thought that was a pretty good question; and given the level of WNV testing going on right now in many Texas cities, it was one that deserved a public answer. You might wonder… Do they have veterinarians waiting… Read More →

September no time to forget West Nile virus

If you live in north Texas, chances are that you’ve been following reports of mosquito spraying efforts.  You may have heard that in September the risk from West Nile virus usually goes down.  However, the latest data shows that WNV risk may a actually be higher now than any time during 2013. Last summer’s record outbreak of WNV is, and we hope will remain, the benchmark for a dreadful year of mosquito-borne illness here in north Texas.  This summer has been much different, with only five human cases in Dallas… Read More →

West Nile virus perspective

This week I attended the West Nile virus survivors support group, hosted by Dr. Don Read and his wife Roberta at the Medical City Dallas Hospital. The group meets every two months or so and provides a forum for learning about the disease and allowing victims to share their experiences and learn from other people who have been down the same rough road. This month’s meeting ended up being very moving, hearing the stories of several people who came down with the illness last summer. One woman in… Read More →

Have you hugged your zoonosis expert today?

You have probably been thinking about zoonoses (zew oh NO sees, plural form of zoonosis) this week whether you realized it or not.  A zoonosis is any infectious disease that can be spread from animals to humans, or vice versa.  It’s estimated that over 60% of human pathogens that cause disease are zoonoses. One of the most common ways zoonoses spread is via some form of vector, or intermediate host (carrier) that serves to spread the pathogen.  Mosquitoes, for example, are vectors for a variety of zoonotic diseases… Read More →