I don't get alarmed very often by the news I read. Maybe it's because I've been a journalist for too long and I've reported on my share of bad things. But I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't scared when I found out that the dreaded West Nile virus is spreading faster than it has in years past. According to health officials, states are reporting more cases than they normally do and 28 people have already died nationwide among the close to 700 cases reported. 

I think the reason why this scares me so much is because it's so easy to be infected with the West Nile virus. After all, all it takes is a mosquito bite. 

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The state with the worst problem is Texas, which has 381 cases of the illness this summer and 16 deaths. In fact, Dallas' mayor has just declared that his city is facing an emergency and will begin aerial inseticide spraying over the most infected areas, adding to the ground spraying already underway.

Since there are no vaccines to prevent getting infected nor are there any medications to treat the virus once you get it, you need to protect yourself and your loved ones by using insect repellant and avoiding, and when possible, getting rid of insect breeding grounds such as stagnant water pools. 

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Although the majority of the people infected survive the illness, it's still scary to think that death is a possible outcome. Luckily, mosquitos don't seem to like the state I live in becasue I'd be very worried if I lived in those where they abound.

How much do you know about the West Nile virus? Does it scare you too? Share your thoughts with us by leaving us a comment below. 

Image via iceberg273/flickr

About the author

Roxana A. Soto is Features Editor of MamásLatinas. She's a bilingual and bicultural journalist born in Peru and raised in Mexico, Argentina, South Africa and Miami. She's also mom to a girl in 3rd grade and a boy in Kinder. She loves books, languages, traveling and good food – especially when cooked by someone else.

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Filed Under: latino health, tips, diseases
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