The West Nile Virus Is Having a Banner Year

The West Nile Virus, which just celebrated its 13th anniversary in North America, is having it's best year yet. So far it's killed 41 and infected over 1,100. I know what you're all thinking: has it really been 13 years? And yes, I also feel old now.

But in case you live in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, or Oklahoma (or South Dakaota, which the New York Times describes as "nearby" Texas, so maybe take the rest of the article with a grain of salt), you should be careful around dead birds and also wear bug spray because, according to CDC scientist, Dr. Lyle R. Peterson, things are about to get worse:

"That's the highest number of cases ever reported to the C.D.C. by the third week of August," he added. "And cases are trending upward."

But then again, this same Dr. Peterson got it once and now he's fine.

Dr. Petersen described his own bout with West Nile disease in 2003.

"I was out for a jog, and within one mile I went from feeling normal to where I could barely walk," he said.

The lesson here, as always, is don't ever go jogging.

Even if you don't live in one of the aforementioned outbreak-ridden states, you should be careful; mosquitoes and birds in 47 of the 48 contiguous US states have tested positive for the virus this year, the exception being Vermont. So, if you live in Vermont, feel free to play with all the dead birds you want.

Also of note for Rick Perry fans:

The Dallas area has spent about $3 million – virtually all from the federal government – on aerial spraying to kill mosquitoes, the Texas health commissioner, Dr. David Lakey, said in the phone conference.

There's some debate as to whether these chemicals are safe or not, so perhaps Texas voters will soon have one more thing to blame on Obama.

[Image via Shutterstock]