West Nile Virus

Subject: West Nile Virus
From: John Gamblin <>
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 21:26:09 -0700 (PDT)
I had this forwarded on from our friends Sid and
back in the USA: They forwarded on an extract from
birdchat to me.

Sid and Sharon Genaux <> wrote:

Hi John,
WNV has been a hot topic on BIRDCHAT the last few
Here are some of the posts:

Subject: Re: West Nile
From: Michael Cooper <>
Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2001 09:20:21 -0400

Ron Nambiar wrote:

Here in the New York, Long Island, NJ and Connecticut
area there have been something like 8 deaths
attributed to WNV since the first 'outbreak' three
years ago.  This in an area populated by something
like 20 million people. Almost everything you come
across in day to day 
life is more likely to kill you than this virus,
including car travel, smoking or lightning strikes
(about 1 in three million). We really should keep this
in perspective. Worry about the pesticides!

Mike Cooper
Ridge, LI, NY

Subject: Re: [BIRDCHAT] West Nile
From: bruce patterson <>
Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2001 10:28:58 -0400

Not to discount what Ram is saying, I agree with Mike,
there are lots of other things to worry about.

There was a brief article in our paper here in Windsor
where they discovered one of the dead birds carrying
the virus and the article stated that less than 1% of
the mosquitoes that are around are affected. I realize
that the virus still poses a serious threat especially
to the elderly and very young. I think we are
fortunate to be aware of this and can take
precautions. It was only a matter of time till they
came this far north.

Here's to continued good birding throughout the world
in spite of the obstacles, whether it be birding in
dangerous areas, weather conditions or insects!

Bea Patterson
B & B's Bed and Breakfast
Wheatley, Ontario

Subject: Re: Birding and West Nile Virus
From: Jay Greenberg <>
Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2001 12:05:29 -0400

I believe that most people who are infected have
either no symptoms, or a very mild illness, but
develop immunity to re-infection. Only the elderly and
the immunocompromised near fear the virus. To express
contrarian point of view, it may be best for people
to be infected when they are relatively young and
healthy so that they will have nothing to fear later
on. I hope the CDC is tracking the distribution of
antibodies to West Nile as well as acute illnesses.

One thing to come from tracking of infected birds in
New York State is that far, far more birds are killed
by pesticides than by the virus.

Jay Greenberg 
Rochester, NY

In reality, as I understand it anyway, your chances
are much greater of getting malaria from mosquitos or
lyme disease from ticks, than getting WNV from
mosquitos -- at least so far. But it's still better to
protect yourself and wear repellent and protective

So far, the very best website I have found for
comprehensive information on West Nile across the
country is at Cornell University:

Safe and happy birding!
Dinah Pulver
Environment Writer
Daytona Beach News-Journal

Subject: Birding & WNV
From: Timothy Capone <>
Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2001 12:25:45 -0400

I'm sure most birders won't feel threatened by this
new disease that is spreading throughout North
America, but a few people have expressed concerned
about it. Keep in mind that this disease is spread by
the common house
mosquito (occasionally other types of mosquitoes are
involved). You're more likely to be infected in your
back yard than in deep woods or a large marsh. At
least that's the way it seems right now. Swamp
mosquitoes are very unlikely to be a culprit from my

These house mosquitoes are more active at dusk, but
also into the night. So at this time period, be sure
to wear long sleeves and pants, and use mosquito
repellent on your clothes. The common house mosquito
breeds in stagnant pools of water with decaying
organic matter such as leaves. It is important to keep
your yard free of these pools of water, and encourage
your neighbors to do the same. People who are more at
risk have immune
deficiencies. The majority of people who have
developed a serious illness after being infected were
over seventy years of age with some sort of health

I'd like to see fellow birders encourage birders they
meet to dress properly and maybe suggest the use of
repellent on clothing. Share your repellent if you
have some, or let someone borrow more protective
And be especially careful at and just after sunset.

There are so many diseases in life that can make you
ill, and few of us worry about them or do anything to
protect ourselves (like the flu, which can kill). But
making it a good practice to protect yourself from
mosquitoes is just plain common sense, WNV or no WNV. 
Birders on their excursions might consider the threat
of contacting EEE or Lyme disease. I'm more concerned
about how this disease effects our birds. Of the
10,000 or so birds that were tested by New York State
last year, about 12% of them tested WNV positive.

Tim Capone
Syracuse NY 13219

Subject: Re: Birding & WNV
From: "Komar, Nick" <>
Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2001 14:19:47 -0400

Birders can provide a useful resource to state and
local health departments charged with monitoring the
spread (and local risk) of WNV throughout the US. The
experience of the last three summers has been that
dead birds are the most obvious sign that WNV is
circulating in a new region. Most people ignore dead
birds or don't even notice them. However, birders are
a group that care for each other and birds?


I've sent this to all on birding-Aus due to the modern
day speed of spreading diseases around the planet, jet
travel etc., etc., etc., People can be out in tropics
one day and the next day walking around in an uptown
office, as often as not wearing the same mud on their
shoe base.

Interesting comment from Mr. Timothy Capone re: 12% of
birds tested had WNV ?????? how long before Oz gets it?

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