90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
West Nile Virus Outbreak

West Nile Virus numbers are spiking nationwide. Is global warming driving the outbreak? And is the U.S in line for more tropical disease?

Mosquitos are sorted at the Dallas County mosquito lab in Dallas, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012. The last time Dallas used aerial spraying to curb the mosquito population, Texas' Lyndon Johnson was in the White House, Mission Control in Houston was launching Gemini missions and encephalitis was blamed for more than a dozen deaths. But for the first time in more than 45 years, the city and county planned Thursday to resume dropping insecticide from the air to combat the nation's worst outbreak of West Nile virus, which has killed 10 people and caused at least 200 others to fall ill. (AP)

Mosquitos are sorted at the Dallas County mosquito lab in Dallas, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012. The last time Dallas used aerial spraying to curb the mosquito population, Texas’ Lyndon Johnson was in the White House, Mission Control in Houston was launching Gemini missions and encephalitis was blamed for more than a dozen deaths. But for the first time in more than 45 years, the city and county planned Thursday to resume dropping insecticide from the air to combat the nation’s worst outbreak of West Nile virus, which has killed 10 people and caused at least 200 others to fall ill. (AP)

It’s a wild season, already, for West Nile virus. Before 1999, we’d never seen it in the U.S. It was a scourge out of Uganda. Africa. Now, it’s all over the United States. 2012 is shaping up as likely the worst season ever. 700-plus cases already. Dozens dead. Cities spraying. Dallas has declared a state of emergency. And lifestyles are changing as Americans shrink from mosquitoes, dusk, dawn.

They’re going to change more. Climate Change is a bonanza for tropical disease. West Nile’s just the start.

This hour, On Point: climate change and tropical disease, moving north in the U.S.A.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Mike Rawlings, mayor of Dallas, Texas.

Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and the president and director of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development. You can find his recent op-ed on West Nile here.

Kristy Murray, associate professor of pediatrics at the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.

David Dausey, chairman of the Public Health Department and a tenured professor of public health at Mercyhurst University.

From Tom’s Reading List

Time “There are no good ways to die, but death by the West Nile virus is worse than most. The tropical disease begins in birds, which pass it onto mosquitoes that then go onto infect human beings with a bite. Most people who contract West Nile won’t experience any symptoms at all, but about 1 in 5 will suffer fever, headaches and body aches, usually lasting a week or so. A far-less lucky 1 in 150 will experience high fever, tremors, convulsions, paralysis and coma. Some—especially the immuno-compromised and the elderly—will die.”

Mother Jones “Aerial spraying to combat the West Nile virus will continue Friday night across north Texas despite the concerns of residents worried about potential health risks posed by the insecticide.”

CBS News “Tarrant County officials say a Fort Worth man and North Richland Hills woman in their 80s with underlying conditions passed away due to complications from the disease. In the Dallas-Fort Worth area alone there have been 16 West Nile-related fatalities, with the number of Dallas County cases reaching 262, according to KERA in north Texas. More than 400 cases have been reported around the state.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=680340381 Philip Lovelace

    How many years has it been since we seriously had to worry about Malaria in this country?  If we want to talk about mosquito-borne diseases that could make a comeback, malaria’s as good a start as any.  It used to be endemic to huge swaths of the US.
    Now that I think about it, didn’t Jamestown nearly fail because of malaria outbreaks… until somebody had the sense to move it a little further from the river bottoms.

    • Wm_James_from_Missouri

      The “Telegraph” has an article entitled, “ Type O blood protects against malaria “ , at :
      ___
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/3312023/Type-O-blood-protects-against-malaria.html
      ___
      In the article the author questions why no one has looked in detail at this fact (paraphrasing). However, I vaguely remember an article in Scientific American Magazine some years back, that suggested the same phenomena !
      ___
      Search for malaria and blood type and you will find other articles.
      ____

      Is there a similar natural “fire wall” for West Nile virus ? I believe that nature tends to create such phenomena, or maybe it just seem that way, for it could be a common attribute of complex systems. We are not adept enough to observe all of the nuances of complex systems. The mathematics of complex systems has demonstrated this to us.

      • AC

        crows have already built up an immunity…

      • Don_B1

        Sure, African-Americans often suffer from sickle-cell disease which was an adaptation that evolved over millennia to give them resistance to malaria. But it also brought some severe “side effects.”

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          As a freckle-American, sickle-cell is not really a concern to me as an individual.

          However, I had no idea about malarial resistance and sickle-cell. Good tidbit.

          • John_in_Amherst

            one copy of the sickle cell gene confers resistance.  a double copy manifests as sickle cell disease.  So if two parents have a single copy (and are resistant) 25% of their kids on average will have no sickle cell gene or resistance, 50% will have resistance but no sickle cell, and 25% will end up w/ sickle cell.  Over all, the gene works for the greater population, but is harsh math for those with sickle cell.  It’s a great example of genetics in action. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=680340381 Philip Lovelace

    For the record, I live in Southeast Idaho, and my dad (along with several other people we know) caught it about five years back.  I’m sure I was exposed, but Dad was down and out for weeks.

  • AC

    is there a correlation to the diminsihing bat population? I haven’t seen a single bat this year, just misquitos ruining every outdoor dinner attempt…

    • Don_B1

      That is due to a fungus, white-nose syndrome, for which a direct link to AGW has not been established and may not exist. Since it spreads by contact (more spreading the closer together they huddle while hibernating) climate probably does not make a big difference.

      • AC

        yes but they used to keep my yard free of misquitos…i miss them…..
        what other predators do misquitos have? how are those populations doing?

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          Are you in the Northeast?

          I haven’t noticed fewer bats in my northeastern suburb.

          • AC

            there used to be dozens every night in my yard – this year, not 1. not even 1; i don’t even hear any….

          • John_in_Amherst

             Bats that winter over in attics or buildings are less prone to being infected w/ white nose fungus.  The decline in cave dwelling bats has been precipitous.

        • Don_B1

          Bats are a fantastic remover of mosquitos. I don’t know the ranking, but dragon flies’ diets contain a lot of mosquitoes.

          [I typed it both ways so Dan Quayle could wish it had been the word in the spelling class.]

        • Gregg Smith

          For what it’s worth, we have bookoos of bats here at my house.

      • John_in_Amherst

         Bat numbers are way down in the North East – up to a 98% decline in caves that used to harbor huge populations of hibernating bats, and the fungus responsible is moving west and south.  The Likely culprit in the spread of the disease: human spelunkers.  The fungus was unknown in the states before caving began in earnest, and it is believed to have originated in Europe and came here on gear & boots.

  • Gregg Smith

    I looked at the topic this morning  and snarkely thought, “They’ll probably blame it on AGW”. It was a crazy thought… then I read the rest. Amazing. As Dr. Krauthammer said, if Godzilla ravaged NYC the dems would blame global warming. 

    • AC

      but have you ever taken chemistry? Technically, even a slight/very, very small change in temp CAN change many associated systems – why is it wrong to note/explore all the changes and ask if there are connections? granted the variables are many in this instance, and it will take a while before indisbutable patterns are found, but in the end, the answer can only be yes or no, right? best to proceed with caution and check it out i say…

      • Gregg Smith

        In a vacuum, you are absolutely right. Many here would be surprised to know that I am open to the idea that humans can have some impact on temperature. But AGW has been blamed for everything. I don’t think the best way to address a problem is through hysteria. 

        Checking it out is fine. I object to the overall message: We (greedy rich American Republicans) are thoughtlessly trashing the planet and if we don’t roll back our standard of living 100 years then we are toast. 

        • Bill_GKD

          No one has mentioned human impact on climate.  No matter where one thinks that the warming is coming from, it is real, and it is having impacts.

          I’m so sick of people saying that liberals, Democrats, environmentalists, etc. want to take us back 100 years in terms of life style.  The only people that I hear saying that have been such luminaries as Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, and it’s garbage.  We can do a lot through conservation and technological innovation.  Appliances now use only a fraction of the energy that they did 40 years ago.  We waste so much that we could do a lot by just being smarter about our usage.

          • Gregg Smith

            I agree with your comment: “We waste so much that we could do a lot by just being smarter about our usage”. Do you think we need energy police?

          • Bill_GKD

            No.  I think that we need to be smarter, but we can push product standards that will save energy and money.  Some people must enjoy wasting money considering the auto and home choices that they make.

          • Gregg Smith

            I know, freedom’s a bitch.

          • Bill_GKD

            and that is supposed to mean what exactly?

          • DrewInGeorgia

            It’s supposed to mean that freedom means people have the right to be belligerent, destructive, sociopaths if they so choose and everyone else should just “get over it”.

            Right to do as you choose until you directly impede on other’s right to do the same just doesn’t register with some people.

          • Don_B1

            But Gregg has a Republican talking point in his teeth and just can’t let it go. You WILL see it from him again and again because repetition ad infinitum unfortunately does work with too many people.

            There are many dictatorships in just the last century where the leaders acknowledged how they sold their false story to their populaces.

          • Bill_GKD

            I’ve encountered people that fit your description.  As one of my friends recently said “you’ll never convince anyone on the Internet of anything.” 
            Some people are committed not only to their own opinions but to their own facts and reality.

        • Don_B1

          Nothing in the proposals of leading climate scientists requires rolling back the standard of living 100 years.

          There will have to be some changes, like driving electric (hybrid now, full electric soon) cars, insulating our buildings (which will SAVE MONEY!) and using sustainable rather than fossil fuels for energy generation.

          There will be plenty of energy to do things people want to do, just a bit differently.

          But failure to stop CO2 emissions WILL mean going back more than 100 years as the whole society comes apart and the surviving humans live lives like current aborigines in the Amazon or Borneo.

          But see the effects of AGW on animals:

          http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/08/21/669151/animals-climate-change-ecosystem/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+climateprogress%2FlCrX+%28Climate+Progress%29

          • Gregg Smith

            Relax, we’re fine. BTW, electric cars are not the solution, they aren’t even green.

        • John_in_Amherst

           Germany is on track to be nuke-free in a few years, and is way ahead of the US in terms of conservation & green energy.  I don’t see their standard of living regressing 100 years… 
          Here in the US, with 4% of the world’s population, we consume 25-30% of the world’s energy and produce about the same percentage of the world’s garbage and pollution.  Our wastefulness is as profligate as it is unsustainable, and easily justifies the rest of the world being angry with our approach – or lack there of – to the problems of resource management and climate change.  The GOP’s ignorance and bull-headedness on these interrelated issues is a source of national shame. 

          • Gregg Smith

            Germany is having a real problem with that. They’ll never make it. I have friends there. They ride bicycles to work in the rain because gas prices are now at an all time high. They dry their clothes on the line. They are never completely warm in the winter or cool in the summer.

          • John_in_Amherst

            I also have German friends who are not suffering and are proud of their country’s actions.  I also have friends here who bike to work, dry clothes on a line and are fine with the situation.  So?

          • Gregg Smith

            I think the choice to roll back your standard of living is beautiful. 

          • Bill_GKD

            I don’t see how drying one’s clothes on the line or biking or even dare I suggest walking to work if it is feasible is rolling back one’s standard of living.  That’s like criticizing someone for opening the windows for the breeze instead of using the air conditioner.

            I love biking towork in the good weather.  The scenery is beautiful and the exercise is good for my waistline, and if I can get mother nature to dry my clothes for my instead of paying the power company, then that’s great.  That’s more money in my pocket.

          • Gregg Smith

            You seem think I am criticizing those things. I’m not, I do the same. I even collect rainwater. People had no choice but to ride bicycles (or walk) and dry their clothes on the line 100 years ago. I can do load of laundry, toss it in the dryer, jump in my car and drive 30 miles in the rain at 70MPH to make it to work on time. 

          • Bill_GKD

            You said below that you’re not criticizing those things, but you’re saying that John is rolling back his standard of living by doing that, so it certainly seems like you’re criticizing it.

            I can always wait a day to do the laundry if it’s raining unless I’m totally out of clothes and still save that money, and I can certainly drive when it’s rainy or too cold or something, but lets face it, we’ve gotten so lazy and addicted to our conveniences that people will drive a few hundred yards rather than walk a ways.  One of my buddies and his wife walked to work for over 20 years.  Some days the weather stunk, but they saved a bundle in the long run and were healthier for it.

          • Gregg Smith

            I am criticizing rolling back our standard of living by taking away modern conveniences like driving fast cars and drying our clothes in under an hour. I am not criticizing the sun or the bicycle and their uses.

          • John_in_Amherst

             I view living in a more sustainable way rolling it forward, not back

          • Bill_GKD

            These small boxes are really annoying.

            At any rate, no one is talking about taking away your dryer.  There are lots of ways that we can have modern conveniences and not trash the air or the water.

        • AC

          hysteria is never the way to go, i agree. i wouldn’t worry about politics in this matter tho, i care more about how stupid we might look historically if we aren’t thoughtful about it….!!

      • Don_B1

        Gregg has to disparage ANY possible cause that would require government intervention. Note that he did not need to hear the case for and against before making his decision known.

        • Gregg Smith

          There is no worldwide government intervention that can possibly do squat.

          • Bill_GKD

            They did a pretty good job of getting rid of smallpox.

          • Don_B1

            The WTO is not perfect but it sure keeps world commerce and globalization going by providing rules of the road that countries mostly obey and receive punishment when they don’t.

    • Bill_GKD

      I’d blame Godzilla on nuclear tests first.  But seriously, if areas experience warmer temps that fail to kill off some of these species or allow them to move in, then climate change is playing a role.

      • Don_B1

        I guess you have to put the *snark* in asterisks as even Tom, or his prompters, [maybe] couldn’t recognize it! Even “good guys” don’t get it (?), or maybe they just wanted to get “provocative” and misrepresent your comment when it was real clear to me and I bet almost everyone else.

        BAD Tom, BAD!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      You seem to think “Dr” in front of Krackhammer’s name makes every word out of his mouth an intellectual rhapsody.

      • Don_B1

        The “Dr.” is in psychiatry which I guess taught him how to phrase arguments to convince people to believe false things.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          Psychiatry, yes, I knew.

          Krackhammer’s doing for the word “psychiatry” what Dr. Frankenstein did for “scientist”.

          • Gregg Smith

            Okay, Mr. Krauthammer. What’s your point? He’s right. Too dry, AGW; Too wet, AGW; Too much snow, AGW. Too many hurricanes; AGW. West nile virus, AGW.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            My point is that he has an axe to grind, people who aren’t so sharp are impressed by the “Dr.” part and put it out there when it has nothing to do with his field of study, and we’re supposed to take it as that he knows the first goddamn thing he’s talking about.

            Your media diet is pretty unbalanced to be asking anyone here for proof of anything.

          • Gregg Smith

            It’s the proper way to address him, that’s all. I’m well aware of his major. I say President Carter,Governor Huckabee, Sir Elton John and Dr. Krauthammer.

            I continue to be amazed at what some people harp on.

        • Gregg Smith

          He’s not talking about climate, west nile or AGW. He’s talking about Democrats. He’s right and it has nothing to do with his title. 

        • harverdphd

           Don’t forget MD which comes before psychiatry…way beyond your associate’s degree in nonsense

      • Gregg Smith

        Huh?

    • John_in_Amherst

      Really, Greg, do you have thoughts that are not “snarky”, or that veer from the rabid right party line expressed by K and his fellow travelers on FOX?  Even the Koch Brothers’ hired gun, who was paid to do research that would refute anthropogenic climate change, ended up changing his mind when he actually looked at the facts.  It’s real.  And how big an intellectual leap is it to believe that tropical diseases and parasites will follow the tropics toward the poles? 

  • wauch

    We are getting closer to tipping points for a variety of Climate*Virus interactions as well as a variety of Climate*Human Tolerance interactions with regard to duration, frequency, intensity of climate events and the types of chemical responses we are seeing in Dallas. Resistance and resilience is a trait many of the organisms we are trying to combat have in spades BUT I can’t say the same for us!!

    • DrewInGeorgia

      We’ve been moving in the opposite direction for decades. By persistently dumbing-down our immune systems and saturating our air, food, and water with contaminates we have made the challenges to come all the more challenging.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=683500385 Cory Murphy

    Do you think that these outbreaks, especially in the east, have any correlation with the mass blight of the Little Brown Bat because of the white nose syndrome?

    • AC

      i asked the same thing!! I miss the bats!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    In terms of West Nile virus, the drought has probably been a blessing – much less standing water.

  • Coastghost

    Does exposure/infection to WNV bring resistance or immunity afterwards?

    • Don_B1

      I think Ms Murray answered that in the affirmative but I am going to re-listen.

      • DrewInGeorgia

        I’d have to re-listen as well to be sure but I think the bottom line was that the long-term negative effects of exposure far outweighed any gained resistance or immunity.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6MXTYPPQQVNWVIUDKF2FKVIM7I Dave B

    Just texted a friend of mine in Dallas and told him to “go buy some OFF” and his response was “Huh? Why?”

  • Coastghost

    What avian migratory patterns are thought to’ve contributed to the outbreak in North Texas? Is any bird species a more likely carrier than another?

  • ying13

    ActoKine-2 (AK-2) has been shown to protect cells against
    infection by West Nile Virus & other viruses (bird flu, Rift Valley fever virus,
    Punta Toro phlebovirus, HIV, Yellow Fever Virus, Tacaribe virus, and Venezuelan
    equine encephalomyelitis (VEE) virus. It
    will be great to use intra-dermal cream with AK-2 (right after the bite) for
    virus infection. These novel
    route of administration can be safer, cheaper, and logistically easier than
    traditional injections for disease prevention.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MW6U2WVBWFCPPVUMMG4ULJ5PC4 Allen

    I get scared when I hear a mayor say we are relying on the science to justify spraying.  This was the same logic we heard in the 50s with DDT spraying in suburban neighborhoods.

    Frankly, the number of cases, in total — not just deaths, is so insigificant compared to the entire population, that I think we are going crazy with all this remediation. We spend a lot of local budget on something that’s like (pun intended) a gnat on an elephant.  Eliminating these insects also has unknown consequency to the ecosystem — animals that feed on them and those that feed on these, etc.

    Do the passive stuff (like removing outside standing water in your yard) and don’t go outside when they are active.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       The problem is that in the south during the summer, the only time that’s cool enough to do much outside is when the mosquitoes are active.

    • Don_B1

      It is right to look to science for answers when considering policy. But it is also important to determine what science does or does not know and what the potential downsides are to each possible course of action.
      Look at the consequences of the groups against immunization based on false claims autism causation. Many childhood diseases “eradicated” years ago are back because of it.

      In this case if just a few do not remove standing water the efforts of many to do that can be ineffective. But spraying with a chemical whose side effects are not fully known needs to be done really reluctantly and only when the threat is widespread.

      But today everyone wants everything done to reduce danger (to themselves) irrespective of (unseen or unrecognized) real dangers to all, now and in the future. It is the knee-jerk response to a threat that is the most dangerous; a full workup of the science is needed before choosing a response.

      • DrewInGeorgia

        I agree. Any who don’t need only look at the result taking an anti-biotic every time we sneeze has had on our collective immunity.

        • Bill_GKD

          I agree.  What ever happened to getting dirty?  Sometimes I think that we’re too clean.  Play in the dirt or the woods if you can and give your immune system a challenge.

    • allenius

      I agree with you. Also, wear long pants, sleeves and a broad-brimmed hat, and walk briskly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alnwright Alan Wright

    Tom, what about using the genetic modification of mosquitos to sterilize them as has been proposed the Dengue fever problem in Key West?

    • AC

      that is an interesting idea….

      • DrewInGeorgia

        The unintended consequences would likely outweigh the short-term benefits. Though it is an attractive idea, sterilization of a species (any species) is going to have ramifications we can’t possibly comprehend.

        • AC

          that reminds me of a scifi movie I saw a while ago – the aliens came down and eradicated humans by sterilizing the males who then became unreasonably angry and murdered all the women…

          • DrewInGeorgia

            Don’t think I’ve ever seen that, do you remember the title? Was it worth watching?

          • AC

            it was…not ‘bad’..i guess ‘typical scifi’ – sometimes you’re better off going in expecting a thoughful concept/writing over cinematic or acting skills …:/

            i think this might be it:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Screwfly_Solution

          • DrewInGeorgia

            Thanks. The concept, story, and writing are always what draw me in. You should check out the movie Primer if you’ve never seen it.

          • AC

            i did see that – I remember liking it…

    • Don_B1

      Would you believe there are groups fighting doing that?

    • NOLALiz

       There have been breeding experiments that render species of mosquitoes unable to pass on the malaria parasite. Lots of work that is interesting… meanwhile, take precautions.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    I’ll take the insecticides over malaria and West Nile virus.

    • Don_B1

      And depending on your age, etc., that could be the best choice FOT YOU. But depending on the insecticide and the quantity to be used, it may NOT be for your grandchildren and their progeny, or it mat NOT be for your neighbors, either.

      That is why all the factors need to be considered in what is called a “system approach.” The deciders being human there is no absolute guarantee the the best approach will be taken, but it will be more likely.

      The takeaway: we are all in this together and what is best for all as a group is the way to go.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         You represent the “Enjoys being eaten up by mosquitoes” vote?  Lots of luck to you.

  • Dobfreak

    Why haven’t you mentioned bats?  ONE bat will eat 3000-5000 bats per night – that’s a quarter million bats per night for a modest bat box.  Please check out Bat Conservation International (bci.org) for more info.  They also have a free loaner ‘trunk’ for teachers with multiple resources.  I built a box for a family in AL that housed 2000 bats because they couldn’t even go out on the deck – afterwards: NO Mosquitos!

    • jefe68

      I think you meant 3000 to 5000 mosquitoes per night.
      That’s great except the kind of mosquito that caries the West Nile virus is out during the day.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    The president of South Africa denied that AIDS is caused by HIV.  Saying that poverty causes disease isn’t a sufficient answer.  These diseases are caused by an infectious organism.  Now explain why poor people get more of those.

    • Bill_GKD

      Poverty doesn’t cause disease, but poor water quality or various lifestyle or geographic choices and conditions can make the spread of those diseases much easier.

  • Dobfreak

    BATS – “Organic” mosquito control!  This box will house 50 mosquito munchin machines – together they can consume 250,000 west-nile carrying witches!

  • allenius

    When you add in parasites and harmful insects like bedbugs, it looks as though we are catching the world’s diseases and troubles now.

    • jefe68

      Bedbugs don’t harbor any known diseases as ticks do.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Doreen-DeVore/100000576596946 Doreen DeVore

    Virginia Blood Services have been screening all blood donors for West Nile virus since the Asian Tiger mosquito moved in several years ago. The Tiger mosquito which is a primary vector for West Nile is a day time mosquito, very slow moving and the bite is painful.

  • Mandala8

    Especially in the U.S., what role does our weakened immune systems from lifestyle choices e.g. lack of movement (effect on cleansing lymphatic system) and so much non-food edibles (fast food, sweets, pastas etc).

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

     Then spray during the day and the night.

    • Bill_GKD

      I heard a piece the other day that this was being done and that they were using a synthetic in Dallas was similar to one naturally produced in flowers.

  • Bill_GKD

    Dear On Point,
    My comment about Godzilla was meant as a criticism of those who would deny the potential role of climate change, not a support of it.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      It’s ridiculous that it would need clarification. Paying attention to Context seems to be a problem for many.

  • NOLALiz

    Shame on your speakers. Shame on them. If they were better trained public health professionals they would have taken the opportunity to talk about all the ways that you have control instead of focusing on getting people panicked. You have newspapers and the frothy 24 hour news cycle online to stir up fear. Why did they waste your show to replicate what is already being done in the background – fear? They blew the opportunity to really focus on common sense prevention:
    1) use mosquito repellent;
    2) wear pants and long sleeved shirts at dawn and dusk;
    3) clear up standing water in your yard and spread mosquito biological controls like “dunks” or “bits;” and
    4) install screens in houses.
    Then avoid high mosquito biting times – if you walk your dog at dusk, use long sleeves and pants and spray repellent. That’s all. No big deal.
    So they miss the chance to really focus on giving people the knowledge to control their own risk instead they talk about kidney failure and paralysis. This whole session on your show is an example why public health and medical professionals need training in risk and crisis communications before their leash is taken off and they are allowed to talk to the press without a controller with a rolled up paper whack them on the backside to keep them on message.
    Public health has a lot of good will from the public, we need to cultivate it with appropriate strategic communication that is beneficial not panic-inducing.
    By the way, I have had WNV and Dengue when I worked in other countries. Dengue is break bone fever and matches the name. But, WNV gives herd immunity over time, with periodic outbreaks. They should have given reasonable explanations of the risk – it is low… but much lower if communities eradicate breeding sites and people take common sense prevention… which was NOT the lead message in this radio piece. Shame on your guests. Waste of an opportunity. Grrr… excuse my rant… grrr…

    • Gregg Smith

      That makes too much sense. If you want to do something about West Nile then it’s better to suggest we dry our clothes on the line, ride a bicycle to work, wear a jacket in your house during the winter, shut down the coal industry, pay through the nose for energy and shell over big time money to the UN. 

      • NOLALiz

         You have to think of short term and long term prevention. I think climate change will move tropical illnesses into the southern areas of the USA where they had been before serious eradication efforts wiped them out. The science supports human impact on climate.
        As for the other stuff you say… Why not use some energy that is renewable? Why not invest in that as the technology gets better and better? Have try, at least.

        • Gregg Smith

          Why not use some energy that is renewable? Why not invest in that as the technology gets better and better? Have try, at least.

          I agree and we do.

    • Linda Wilson

       When I lived in Houston, I used dunks in my rain gutters and checked my yard regularly for water.  I still got bitten up every time I went out back.  Cedar oil helped a little as a repellent, but never completely.  I’ve heard mosquitos can breed in the small amount of water held between a blade of grass and its stem.

      • NOLALiz

        Your whole community has to clean up breeding sites. This morning I just dropped some dunks in a big pool of water in an empty lot. Some mosquitoes can fly a long way and there is more one species that carry an arboviruses such as West Nile Fever. It takes more time to cultivate a mosquito than in a drop of water on a blade of grass can last. Although, plants that hold small pools of water, like bromeliads, do provide breeding sites. It takes between 5 to 14 days of standing water, accounting for the variety of species, for breeding. DEET is the best repellent, but check CDC’s site for alternatives. They studied different products and offer several choices.
        If we do a good job of preventing breeding and adjusting our behavior, we can reduce the need for environmental spraying.

  • ying13

    Any soapy water (use right after any bite) can help kill virus & stops itching.

  • ying13

    Any oil (safe) can help kill Mosquito larvae in standing rain water. Prevention is more important than cure.

  • John_in_Amherst

    A recent article in the NYT describes how several here-to-for tropical
    diseases are getting a foothold in the US, especially the Gulf States
    and Texas, where poor infrastructure, abject poverty and poor health
    care are allowing these diseases and parasites to become endemic. 
    Something to consider as we hear political discussions of reducing
    expenditures on healthcare, research and infrastructure related to
    sanitation and housing… 

  • dear_citizen

    Central Nile dilemma:

    There’s a debate on the US roll in the horn of africa being ignored and the “onpoint” contact page said this was the best way to get the moderator’s attention.

    The Ethiopian “president” for 20 years (dictator) Meles Zenawi is dead and there is no legitimate successor. ALL of the major media outlets are glossing over his many crimes while his party (TPLF) inserts a puppet. The TPLF represents less than 3% of the country by ethnicity but controls the military and key gov’t position. It’s similar to the Alawiitz minority in Syria or the Sunni minority in Iraq- rule by violence and fear. We’ve supported this regime since the coldwar (shirts or skins) and now the TPLF has us under duress because they are a buffer for al-Shabob and al-Qaeda in East Africa. Efeibia and other reporters have engaged in propaganda by not holding that gov’t for account for totalitarianism and violence.

    I’m American, I love my country, and I hate al-Qaeda and ALL who use violence for political gain. But proping up a violent regime that represents 3% of the population will not end well. I disagree with ms. Quist-Arcton, NOW is the time for democracy AND human rights in Ethiopia. Now is the time for a debate on tolerating Ethiopian dictators before the East Afrifican spring catches us off-gaurd.

  • dear_citizen

    Central Nile dilemma:

    There’s a debate on the US roll in the horn of africa being ignored and the “onpoint” contact page said this was the best way to get the moderator’s attention.

    The Ethiopian “president” for 20 years (dictator) Meles Zenawi is dead and there is no legitimate successor. ALL of the major media outlets are glossing over his many crimes while his party (TPLF) inserts a puppet. The TPLF represents less than 3% of the country by ethnicity but controls the military and key gov’t position. It’s similar to the Alawiitz minority in Syria or the Sunni minority in Iraq- rule by violence and fear. We’ve supported this regime since the coldwar (shirts or skins) and now the TPLF has us under duress because they are a buffer for al-Shabob and al-Qaeda in East Africa. Efeibia and other reporters have engaged in propaganda by not holding that gov’t for account for totalitarianism and violence.

    I’m American, I love my country, and I hate al-Qaeda and ALL who use violence for political gain. But proping up a violent regime that represents 3% of the population will not end well. I disagree with ms. Quist-Arcton, NOW is the time for democracy AND human rights in Ethiopia. Now is the time for a debate on tolerating Ethiopian dictators before the East Afrifican spring catches us off-gaurd.

  • hennorama

    PLEASE stop using the euphemism “climate change” and call it by what is actually occuring – global warming, a planet-wide temperature rise.

    If the climate was not warming, this topic would be moot.

    • Gregg Smith

      You are correct. It’s interesting that temperatures have risen and are rising on many other planets as well. I can’t imagine why.

      • Bill_GKD

        Huh?  As far as I know we don’t have enough evidence on other planets to determine climate changes there.  Even our closest neighbors in the solar system.

        • Gregg Smith

          As far as you know, sure. But it’s true. I’m not saying it means much.

          • Bill_GKD

            And to what do you attribute it?

          • Gregg Smith

            I don’t, I just note it. Maybe the same thing is happening here… whatever it is.

          • Bill_GKD

            I’m still not getting what you’re getting at.  You say that you note it, but that you don’t attribute it to anything.  You’re not making much sense to me.

          • Gregg Smith

            I don’t claim to know how every facet of the universe works but many here do. They are sure humans are affecting climate.

          • Bill_GKD

            There’s a pretty significant majority of scientists who do think that we’re having an impact.  Some thinks that it’s pretty small, some think that it’s pretty large.  Regardless of where it’s coming from, warming seems to be a pretty certain fact.

  • Pingback: NPR West Nile Outbreak in US | Noon Turf Care Blog | Noon Turf CareNoon Turf Care

  • Gregg Smith

    It is important to note the CDC says the reason is unclear and does NOT attribute the West Nile spike to greedy American 
    Republicans.

    • Bill_GKD

      Who’s saying that?  The discussion was focused on the history in America and whether or not we could see a spread of certain diseases with a rise in temperatures.  It was pretty toned down.

      • Gregg Smith

        I don’t hear the show until 7PM but many commenters are saying just that. The question was posed at the top of the page as well.

        • Bill_GKD

          Nothing at the top of the page says anything about greedy American Republicans, and while I’m not reading every comment on here, I don’t think that anyone has said that.

          • Gregg Smith

            “Greedy American Republicans” were my words. I don’t think anyone blames NPR listeners or German Socialists.

          • Bill_GKD

            No one on the show blamed anyone, not American Republicans or German socialists.  Temperatures have increased, and that has been allowing species to move into new areas.  That’s a pretty straight forward observation.  The question seems to be what does that mean for us and how to we adjust to it.

          • Gregg Smith

            I have often said the show is far more fair than this blog. I’m sure that’s the case here and I will be listening at 7. 

            The “A” in AGW is there for a reason and many here agree.

          • Bill_GKD

            Why don’t you listen earlier in the day?  If your station carries it later, then you could always stream it live.  Like I said, I didn’t read every comment here, but I didn’t see anyone talking about what was causing climate change, just that it was happening and that there are consequences.

          • Gregg Smith

            I haven’t noticed your name so maybe you are new around here but I have been raked over the coals for daring to suggest humans are not causing significant warming on our planet.

  • Joker_6699

    Any experiments or research being done on releasing the mosquitos natural predator?

  • Joker_6699

    Any experiments or research done on releasing the Mosquitos natural predator?

  • harverdphd

    Thank you Rachel Carson for the banning of DDT and the deaths of millions of third world kids from malaria.

  • harverdphd

    Our loss

  • harverdphd

     Too bad

  • http://www.facebook.com/karen.martin.359 Karen Martin

    Can you explain why there is a very effective vaccine for West Nile virus in horses, but no vaccine for humans?

  • http://www.facebook.com/karen.martin.359 Karen Martin

    Can you explain why there is a very effective vaccine for West Nile virus in horses, but no vaccine for humans?

    0 Like

    • Gregg Smith

      The horse vaccine in not that effective so we do not use it on our farm.

  • Linda Wilson

    Has the CDC considered the kind of sterilization program the USDA used on screwworm flies out west in the 70s/80s?

  • Christopher Chew

    geckos and “house” lizards controls mosquito population in south east asia

  • Philip Andrews

    Given that a couple of the mosquito vectors for rift valley fever virus are now endemic to the US how easily could RVFV establish in the US?

  • HealthyJim

    Dragonflies eat mosquitoes and dragonfly larvae eat mosquito larvae.  

  • HealthyJim

    There are machines that emit PEMF frequencies that can discourage mosquitoes within a given range, and some may even be able to kill the virus inside the insect.  

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=683500385 Cory Murphy

      You can’t kill a virus.

  • Pingback: Cambridge Man Is State’s 2nd West Nile Virus Case | WBUR

  • Pingback: Cambridge Man Is State’s 2nd West Nile Virus Case – WBUR | The Time of Press

ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 28, 2014
This June 4, 2014 photo shows a Walgreens retail store in Boston. Walgreen Co. _ which bills itself as “America’s premier pharmacy” _ is among many companies considering combining operations with foreign businesses to trim their tax bills. (AP)

President Obama is pushing hard to close a loophole that allows companies to move their operations overseas and pay lower taxes. We’ll look at what’s at stake.

Jul 28, 2014
U.S. Secretary of War Newton D. Baker watches as wounded American soldiers arrive at an American hospital near the front during World War I. (AP Photo)

Marking the one hundredth anniversary of the start of World War One. We’ll look at lessons learned and lessons for now.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jul 25, 2014
Guest Renee McLeod of Somerville, MA's Petsi pies shows off her wares. (Robin Lubbock / WBUR)

There is nothing more American than a piece of pie. We taste and talk pies.

 
Jul 25, 2014
Pallbearers carry a coffin out of a military transport plane during a ceremony to mark the return of the first bodies, of passengers and crew killed in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, from Ukraine at Eindhoven military air base, Eindhoven, Netherlands, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP)

Secretary of State Kerry to Israel. Obamacare back in the courts. Mourning as remains of Malaysia Flight 17 victims come home. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: July 25, 2014
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

Why the key to web victory is often taking a break and looking around, and more pie for your viewing (not eating) pleasure.

More »
Comment
 
The Art Of The American Pie: Recipes
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

In the odd chance that our pie hour this week made you hungry — how could it not, right? — we asked our piemaking guests for some of their favorite pie recipes. Enjoy!

More »
Comment
 
Hillary Clinton: ‘The [Russian] Reset Worked’
Thursday, Jul 24, 2014

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton took time out of her global book tour to talk to us about Russia, the press and the global crises shaking the administration she left two years ago.

More »
1 Comment