I do not know what the Tribune reported on WNV but, since I saw the posting, I thought I may have some current information on the topic.
    For those interested in the West Nile Virus, I just returned Friday from the Missouri Natural Resources Conference at Tan-Tar-A.  One of the two-hour workshops was on the current status of the West Nile Virus.  There were four primary speakers from various agencies but the most informative was Dr. Howard Pue, Chief of Communicable Disease Control Veterinary Public Health Section, Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services.  Also, Dr. John Fischer, Director of the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, contributed some valuable data.
     The following is some statistics and facts presented at the workshop:  

1. Equine (horses) cases precede (appear or detected) Human cases by approximately one week.

2. 25 % of humans show signs of WNV upon being infected.

3. Less than 1 % develop encephalitis, some die (primarily the elderly)

4.In 1999, 62 known cases and 7 deaths (nationally) occurred.

5. In 2002, 4000+ known cases and 263 deaths. It had been found in 44 states.

6. WNV has been found in 135+ species of birds.  Also, it has been found in numerous species of 
    mammals, not just horses and man. They have been mist netting birds also and taking blood              samples.

7.  In dead birds succumbing from WNV, the virus is very abundant in their organs.

8.  In captive birds, bird to bird transmission has occurred.

9.  I was told that Cornell University's web site has a good Literature Reference Base.

    Other interesting aspects were that Culex species have been the main mosquito genera identified with WNV but that is in part because their mosquito traps were for nocturnal activity.  They have purchased traps and will sample for "daytime biters" (such as Aedes species) during the coming year.  
    As to the spraying method of control, it appears that target sources would more likely be stagnant water such as in an old bucket or waste water disposal.  I suspect freshwater sources will be further investigated in the coming year.  The question was raised about draining wetland type areas and it would seem to be an unnecessary step.  The bottom line, as far a human threat, we are far more at risk from contaminated meat in the grocery store or restaurants or from traffic accidents than we are from the West Nile Virus.  

    I hope this information was found beneficial to those interested.  On the birding side of things, I did get a Hermit thrush at the Lake of the Ozarks State park while I was there.  

Terry L. Miller
Kearney High School
Clay County, MO

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