APPENDIX II-AY: Are These Symptoms of Pesticide Poisoning:?

"They just feel tired a lot and they report that they can't think as well as they used to," Petersen said. "Or they just have kind of mild subjective symptoms that are kind of hard to put your finger on, but there are lots of people who report these symptoms for months or years."


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Jul 5, 2007 8:56 pm US/Mountain

Officials: W. Nile Victims May Be Under Reported

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Mike Hooker
Reporting

(CBS4) FORT COLILNS, Colo. Centers for Disease Control officials say they believe the number of people with West Nile virus may be drastically under reported.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says two people in Colorado are recovering from the virus. There is one in Logan County and one in Cheyenne County. There are 13,000 cases of the more mild West Nile fever reported in the past eight years.

Dr. Lyle Petersen, Director of CDC Vector-Borne Diseases in Fort Collins, said West Nile fever is more debilitating than previously thought and there are a lot more people who have it than the official numbers suggest.

"We estimate that there has really been more than 300,000 cases of West Nile fever that have not been reported," Petersen said. "So it's really a hidden epidemic."

Petersen said many of the first West Nile fever victims are suffering much longer than expected.

"They just feel tired a lot and they report that they can't think as well as they used to," Petersen said. "Or they just have kind of mild subjective symptoms that are kind of hard to put your finger on, but there are lots of people who report these symptoms for months or years."

Petersen said the CDC is now working with mosquito surveillance crews in Larimer County, testing collected mosquitoes to learn how many infected mosquitoes it takes to produce a human epidemic.

"If we know that number, we can predict human outbreaks so the health department can take earlier control measures," Petersen said.

Control measures like spraying to kill mosquitoes while using the research to make sure communities are not spraying too much, or at the wrong time.

Petersen said the CDC's new high security lab in Fort Collins is already producing faster test results and better diagnosis of mosquito borne viruses like West Nile.

"There are literally hundreds of these mosquito-borne viruses around the world and we have no idea what could be imported next and what can cause havoc," Petersen said. "And that's why we need to be prepared."

Petersen said people who've had organ transplants and take immunosuppressants are 50 times more likely to have serious West Nile complications like paralysis. So, the CDC Is working with the Colorado Department of Health on a special effort to make sure organ recipients avoid getting mosquito bites.

Petersen said the CDC has already created a vaccine being used in horses and it also works well in birds. The National Institutes of Health just completed human trials with the vaccine which Petersen said showed great promise, but he said we're still several years away from actually being able to go to the doctor and get a shot to protect us from West Nile.

For now, using bug spray is still the best line of defense.

Additional Resources

 

  • For more informationon West Nile virus and prevention, call the Colorado Health Department at (877) 795-0646 or go online at www.nchd.org.
  • The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment also has information online at www.fightthebitecolorado.com.

 

 

Prepared for cbs4denver.com by Matthew J. Buettner, Web Producer.

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