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Jay Gordon, MD Headshot

West Nile Virus

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In today or tomorrow's papers you'll read an article telling you that researchers in three southern states have shown that spraying pesticides to control mosquitoes did not increase human exposure to these toxins.

This defies common sense.

When medical research manipulates data to prove what you suspect is false, doubt the research, not your original impression.

West Nile Virus infected 2470 people in 2004 and caused 88 fatalities.

In 2003 the numbers had been far worse: nearly 10,000 infections and 264 deaths.

The decrease can attributed to many things including people protecting themselves better.

IN 2005, there will undoubtedly be even fewer cases and fewer fatalities. At some point, we must start asking whether or not the chemicals (DEET and similar drugs) have risks which outweigh their benefits. We may also be offered a West Nile Vaccine in the near future.

I'm not saying that this is an insignificant illness. I'm merely saying that threat of the disease is being exaggerated and the risk of the toxins used to repel and kill mosquitoes is not being honestly or sensibly presented.