While the media is focused on pandemic Swine Flu, here along America’s North Shore, we must be wary of other diseases. Here are several articles to remind us all about them.
It looks like another wet summer for the Rochester, N.Y. and the Monroe County area. Wet summers mean mosquitoes. Mosquitoes mean the West Nile virus is again a threat in the region.
The West Nile virus was first discovered in central Africa in 1937. It was studied and characterized in Egypt in the 1950′s, hence the name. It was first discovered in the United States in 1999, and has been found in every state but Hawaii, Alaska and Oregon.
Rabies. The name conjures images of large dogs foaming at the mouth and tearing their victims to shreds. In reality, wildlife are the primary sources of rabies and attacks on humans by rabid animals.
On July 16 a seven year old boy and his grandfather were attacked, separately, by a fox at the grandparent’s home in Webster. The grandfather shot and killed the fox during the second attack and a laboratory later confirm that it was rabid.
A second man has died from plague in the city of Ziketan, in northern China. The local authorities have quarantined about ten people who were exposed to either of the dead men.
Plague is the Black Death. It decimated cities and countrysides, and entire nations as it swept across the continent in repeated waves. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases suggests that it killed one third of the population of Europe, 30 million people, in the 1300′s. In the mid 1800′s it killed 12 million Chinese.