I was tested about West Nile Virus in medical school. It was an esoteric arbovirus infection mainly in Africa carried by mosquitoes which could cause encephalitis and brain damage. Fast forward a couple of decades and West Nile is now endemic in the United States. Since 2002, West Nile continues to be reported annually in the US, with the top 3 states for reported cases being California, Colorado, and Texas. Last year was the highest reported deaths from West Nile topping 550. Only 20% of people infected will exhibit symptoms, and less than 1% will get the dreaded encephalitis (which is the main cause of death from the virus). We’ve also heard about other mosquito borne illnesses over the past several years such as Zika (which can cause microencephaly in new borns) or Chikungunya (which causes painful arthritis). Unlike those, West Nile exhibits staying power. It has continued to persist while those others have waxed and waned. There is not a clear reason why. However the answer for all three is the same: Don’t get bit by mosquitoes!
Be mindful of those pesky critters. Empty standing water off your property after a rain. Don’t go out at dusk or dawn when they are out the most. If you do, where long pants and a long shirt. Wear mosquito repellent with DEET. If you’re in the woods, find permethrin impregnated clothes.
Certainly our civil, state, and federal authorities ought to fund mosquito control programs at a greater level than they do. Until that time when Big Brother takes care of your mosquito needs, you best take care of yourself.