West Nile Virus and Disappearing Bats Link? Warren Levin, M.D.

Top Quote Dr. Warren Levin alerts a possible strong link between the spreading West Nile disease epidemic and the dwindling bat population. End Quote
  • New York, NY (1888PressRelease) September 06, 2012 - The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reports that West Nile viral infections have been highest this year since first identified in 1999. To date, it has spread to the central southern part of the US - Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Missouri. It is prevalent in California and Michigan, and continues to spread at an alarming rate.

    West Nile virus epidemic typically peaks in mid-August but it may take a few weeks for the infection to manifest. Many infections passed by insects depend on the seasonal life cycle of the insect. Mosquitoes breed all summer and peak during this time because of the great deal of wet weather - and standing water…these are the vectors by which insects transmit illness.

    An interesting observation is the rise of West Nile viral infections appear to coincide with relatively recent decline of the bat population in this country. The bat is the number one mammal in crisis in America, according to the U.S. the Dept of Fish & Wildlife. Bats play a vital role in mosquito control; in fact, some species can eat up to 600 mosquitoes in one hour!

    The widespread deaths of bats are attributed to what has been termed the 'white-nose syndrome.' It is caused by a fungus, which normally feeds on dead organic matter. This strain of fungus proliferates at low temperatures and it mistakenly identifies hibernating bats for dead matter.

    Getting rid of mosquitoes is unrealistic; remember that even mosquitoes, like bats, have an important place in the ecological framework. To prevent West Nile infection, it is important to stay away from standing water, which is the source of the problem. Practice preventive measures diligently, especially if you are a resident of a high-risk area. Read more about prevention at: http://WarrenMLevinMD.org

    West Nile disease is a potentially serious illness. If you experience symptoms of West Nile disease such as a headache, fever, a rash over the trunk and swollen glands, please call Dr. Levin's office and make an appointment at 703-255-0313. To learn more about Dr. Levin's practice, West Nile virus, prevention and treatment, as well as other chronic illnesses such as Lyme disease and fibromyalgia, please visit www.WarrenMLevinMD.org.

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