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The West Nile Virus





The entire lifespan of a female mosquito (the only type of mosquito that feeds on blood) may only span a few weeks, but the female Culex pipiens mosquito can make the most of it.  Feeding on the blood of humans and animals gives this common carrier of the West Nile virus the protein she needs to produce several hundred eggs every few days--eggs that evolve into biting adult mosquitoes that are looking for meals of their own.  With each bite, an infected mosquito may transmit the West Nile virus (WNV).Mosquito feeding

The West Nile virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. It was first found in Africa in 1937, and was identified in the Western Hemisphere for the first time in 1999 in the New York City area.  Since then, it has spread quickly throughout most of the United States.   In 2000, it spread to all of the New England states and south to North Carolina. As of Dec. 3, 2002, 39 states and the District of Columbia had reported more than 3,700 human cases of West Nile virus infection in 2002, resulting in over 210 deaths.  It has caused illness and mortality in humans, wildlife and domestic animals, especially birds and horses. In humans, it causes an influenza-like illness that may lead to aseptic meningitis, encephalitis, and death, especially in persons over 50 years of age. West Nile virus is important because it Dead mosquito in labaffects not only people, but also wildlife (including many game animals) and some domestic animals.

The West Nile Virus hit few places harder in the nation last year than Cuyahoga County, which recorded 216 cases and nine deaths. 

There have been 15 reported human cases of West Nile virus in Lorain County, according to the Ohio Department of Health Web site. Cuyahoga County reported 216 cases, Erie County reported two cases, and Huron County reported one case.

As of last fall, Ohio had 431 reported cases of West Nile virus and 24 deaths related to the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Clearly the West Nile virus has had a strong impact on Northern Ohio and how we perceive outdoor activities for the future.  This website was made to better inform those who want to know more about the disease, and the precautions to take, before heading out into the great outdoors (or even your backyard).

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Prepared for BIOG 154 Microscopic World -- Dr. Harry Kestler
Lorain County Community College -- Last modified: 04/18/03 -- Don't click here.