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Wet Weather Heralds the Mosquito Menace

Wet weather in some parts of the US and Canada heralds the menace of mosquitoes. The month long heavy rains have sent floodwaters rushing through large areas in both the countries . It has also left puddles of standing water all over the place, leading health officials to warn against the dangers of disease-carrying mosquitoes.

"When we have more rain like this, our mosquito population can go up, and more contact with mosquitoes means a greater possibility of mosquito-borne illness," said Doug Hardy, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. State and local health officials are working to control the mosquito population and educate the public on the dangers of the buzzing pests.

"We really need people to take the appropriate precautions," said Alfred DeMaria, chief medical officer of the state Department of Public Health. "Basically, every year we get people.

The biggest concern is West Nile virus, which can be fatal. It can harm the central nervous system of one in 250 people bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus, leading to extensive nerve damage. One in five people bitten experience only fevers. The virus is spread by mosquitoes that have fed on the blood of infected birds.

West Nile virus is closely related to the viruses that cause Dengue fever, Yellow fever and St. Louis encephalitis.

West Nile virus infects thousands of people, killing hundreds of them, each year in the United States. West Nile Virus is a flavivirus commonly found in Africa, West Asia, and the Middle East. It is closely related to St. Louis encephalitis virus which is also found in the United States. The virus can infect humans, birds, mosquitoes, horses and some other mammals.

West Nile virus (WNV) is a potentially serious illness. Experts believe WNV is established as a seasonal epidemic in North America that flares up in the summer and continues into the
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