West Nile Frenzy


Kayla Barnes, Design Editor

It’s here –  lurking in every stagnant body of water. Buzzing through the air. Spreading like an unprecedented epidemic. Festering inside every swollen bite on your body.

So gather your inspect sprayers and be ready for war. Protect yourself at night by securing mosquito nets above your bed and your dog’s bed. And for those who are truly prepared for combat, be sure to wear long sleeves and jeans at all times, along with a ski mask and gloves.

Because you can never be too cautious when it comes to THE West Nile Virus, right? Wrong.

West Nile Virus has become a pandemic, but not in the ‘everyone is dying from a foreign disease’ kind of way. The true panic spurred by the virus has been created by a distortion of facts from the news.

For example, many local news programs have entire sections of their online sites dedicated to the virus, broadcasting scary headlines like, “West Nile Death Toll on the Rise”.

They create a sense of fear and urgency prompting the inner-hypochondriac to take control of every individual who lacks the sense to look at the date presented and think ‘wait a second, something isn’t right here’.

If you think numbers don’t lie, then you are sadly misinformed.

News stations have reported scary statistics solely for the purpose of grabbing the viewer’s attention and making them want to know more. But reality proves that the odds are in your favor, and that your chances of contracting the disease are one in a million.

People have gone so far as to dial 911 and request an ambulance because they get a headache after being bitten. This is completely ridiculous because those infected with the virus don’t develop symptoms until 3-14 days after they have been bitten.

Every year, about 300,000 people in the United States will be infected with West Nile via mosquito bite. Only about 20% of those bitten develop any type of symptoms, and less than 1% have severe symptoms.

While the disease is deadly and nothing to joke around about, the chances of contracting it, nonetheless dying from it, are very, very slim.

But even if the chances are one in a million, local authorities aren’t taking any chances.

Southlake participated in Denton County’s aerial mosquito spraying, and Keller took part in Tarrant County’s ground spraying. Denton Country even went so far as to give away insect repellent to its citizens.

But still, the panic lives on despite the slim chances and over-precautions from local government. But now you at least can stand equipped, ready to battle the real blown-out-of-proportion side effects the West Nile Virus has created.