Don’t let West Nile change your life

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 15, 2002

The West Nile Virus is getting a lot of attention. If someone contracts the disease, it becomes state news or even worth noting nationally.

West Nile is worrisome to us because there is no cure and no vaccine. It is also a new disease and one that we know little about. However, the disease is receiving the coverage that suggests it is a larger threat than it really is at this time.

In 2001, 59 people contracted the disease in the United States and five died from it. When compared to auto accidents, heart disease, and cancer, the West Nile Virus isn’t a major killer of human beings.

The disease is talked about now because it is something new and something we can’t fully understand. The mystery of the virus and the fact that it is carried through mosquitoes give the virus a stealth-like quality that is frightening.

The reality is, we need to continue moving forward with our lives and not become overly concerned about the virus. This advice doesn’t mean we should venture outdoors without properly protecting ourselves from mosquitoes. But this advice does suggest that we go outdoors whenever we want.

If you want to have an evening barbecue, then do so. If you want to go out at night and look at the stars, you should. The threat of a rare disease that can be prevented by using bug spray should not hinder plans and activities. Don’t get too caught up in the coverage of the West Nile Virus.

When headlines tell the story of West Nile victims, it’s easy to become alarmed. However, we are more at risk of dying in a car accident or a heart attack than catching the West Nile Virus. If we are looking for ways to extend our lives, we should concentrate on wearing seat belts, getting exercise, and eating right.