The opportunity for this week’s pseudoscience post has presented itself unexpectedly. Yesterday’s Google Health News item just plainly said “West Nile Virus detected in Douglas.” Really? Where did it come from? That wasn’t hard to track, thanks to a 24 hour news cycle. The 170 related news articles have bravely taken us on an epidemiology adventure.
Immediately, it was clear that “West Nile Moves Into Stark County.” That was our first strong lead. Could it have come from Brown County? Or from Orange County? Could the original source be in Grayson, Mesa, San Joaquin or Ventura counties? Probably not. Clearly, the combination of Cass county cases and the presence of the virus in Wayne county was giving us much broader picture. We had to do the interstate approach.
State Sen. Bob Peck, R-Riverton, Montana was diagnosed with West Nile virus. Ha, the Republican connection! We knew it. So it must be in the fly-over country. And it was: in Utah, North Dakota, Georgia and Texas. But not only peasants were affected. Chicagoans, Toledoans, and New Yorkers were also infected. As well, of course, as Mundeleiners.
The good news? West Nile cases down. And the bad? West Nile infections soar. And the real bad? West Nile Cases Increase During Fall.
So what to do? Enjoy the outdoors, but use precautions. After all, the third death in Utah and the second in Illinois is the scariest part of our story.