Wednesday, August 13, 2003

The viral hurricane

Just when you thought that New Scientist might be getting all sensible, it comes out with this. Apparently, West Nile Virus is now endemic in the US, and could kill even more people than last year.

How many did it kill in 2002? 282.

Population of the USA? 280million.

Risk? One in a million!

Compare that to road travel, for example. About 3,000 people a year die on Britain's roads. So, the odds of being killed are about one in 20,000. That hasn't stopped me getting into cars. And West Nile Virus is preventable by just the kind of measures you would take in any mosquito-infested area, like slapping on some insect repellent. Mosquitos in the USA at the moment are an irritant, not generally a threat to life.

West Nile Virus set for fresh rampage across US, New Scientist, 8 August 2003


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