West Nile Virus & Other Irritants

mosquito west nile virus

So, I got a couple of questions about West Nile Virus after my post about the squirrel population plummeting.

Not that I am expert about this virus, but somehow I have developed this reputation of reporting on weird things that nobody else does, for digging to get the answers, and yes, for speaking my mind.

I found some conflicting reports about West Nile Virus in my quest to find a clear statement as to whether or not pets or predators might pick it up from eating a diseased animal.

Zoonotic diseases are transmitted different ways and since transmission has been via mosquito and to small body massed animals I didn’t think this would be the case.

Turns out I may be wrong.

Originally I found some sources that said that eating an infected animal was not a problem for pets but then came across this gem:

Dogs and cats become infected when bitten by an infected mosquito. There is also evidence that cats can become infected with the virus after eating experimentally infected mice.

This is from the Center for Disease Control so I am more inclined to believe them–but I also think that there is a lot more to learn about this virus before anyone can make any solid statements…because they really don’t know how many ways it can be transmitted.

Imagine my further surprise when I found the Journal of Emerging Diseases published a very limited study on West Nile Virus which had this to say,

The high efficiency of oral transmission observed with cats suggests that infected prey animals may serve as an important source of infection to carnivores.

Not exactly what I wanted to find since we have a bunch of carnivores around there parts–both wild and domestic.

So far it appears that body mass is influential as is age and condition.

Originally the threat was identified as a bird-mosquito-bird cycle. Mosquitoes feed on a bird with virus in its blood and then the virus is transmitted to a new host via the insect’s saliva when it bites.

At the moment this area does not have any human cases according to the CDC. (Although I’ve posted links before, read more about the California West Nile Virus here.)

Humans and horses have been labeled as “dead-end hosts” because they do not transmit and infect other mosquitoes when bit.

There are WNV vaccines for horses but not for other pets.

West Nile virus does not appear to cause extensive illness in dogs or cats. There is a single published report of WN virus isolated from a dog in southern Africa (Botswana) in 1982. West Nile virus was isolated from a single dead cat in 1999. A serosurvey in New York City of dogs in the 1999 epidemic area indicated that dogs are frequently infected. Nonetheless, disease from WN virus infection in dogs has yet to be documented. Read more on WNV at the CDC.

You can find more WNV info at the American Veterinary Association website and other horse and pet related WNV facts here (although the last link seems a bit outdated, it does answer some of the questions I’ve been asked).

The University of Illinois also has this WNV fact sheet on domestic animals.

Then I found this gem related to those who might face a threat when working:

Although WNV is most often transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes, the virus can also be transmitted through contact with infected animals, their blood, or other tissues. Thus laboratory, field, and clinical workers who handle tissues or fluids infected with WNV or who perform necropsies are at risk of WNV exposure.

What are the symptoms of West Nile Virus?

Experimentally infected dogs showed no symptoms after infection with WNV. Some infected cats exhibited mild, nonspecific symptoms during the first week after infection–for the most part only showing a slight fever and slight lethargy. From the pet WNV q&a here.

Most people who are infected with mosquito-borne viruses do not become ill and have no symptoms. For persons who do become ill, the time between the mosquito bite and the onset of symptoms, known as the incubation period, ranges from 5-15 days. But the Colorado Dept of Public Health and Environment has more to say.

So I hope you enjoyed my info dump on this topic.

The main caution is that humans need to avoid using non-veterinary products on pets due to toxicity risks.

Check with your local veterinarian for his or her recommendation but here is a partial list of animal approved repellent products (and if you purchase online you help support the Fawnskin Flyer):

Other Irritants

I would be remiss if I did not mention the disturbance over the weekend.

If you live around Fawnskin you probably don’t need to know about the very loud music that reverberated around the Fawnskin amphitheater.

Since we live adjacent to Grout Bay and are surrounded by hillside in the shape of a U, any noises tend to get amplified to the chagrin of all of the full-time residents.

This phenomenon was dubbed the unofficial “Fawnskin Amphitheater” by me sometime back.

Now the North Shore Tavern regularly provides music on Saturday nights. This we know.

Actually many of us think this is good even though owner and crew never seem to manage to invite locals by sending announcements to the Fawnskin Flyer (I actually went down and gave them the email address) , fail to put up posters in town or even any flyers or mailings down at the Fawnskin Post Office.

You would think they would take some sensible efforts to get locals and homeowners within walking distance into the place–which is a good idea when you decide to disturb the pristine calm with music that reverberates not only through the homes adjacent and across from your establishment–but also all the way up to the top of Fawnskin and over to those who reside on Flicker.

Personally, I wasn’t too happy but I tend to turn on my overhead fan most nights because of the recent heat wave.

But whether or not your windows are open, you still get blasted by noise.

So, now NS Tavern has pissed off locals once again. Even though we’d like them to do well it makes many of us boycott the business.

The next step? It is a wait and see if it happens again.

The last time the idiot managing the place engaged in this type of bad behavior the Feds came in and locked him up.

Simply because they did not take the simple action of managing their noise level and they eventually pissed off the wrong neighbor. (BTW, I know you are reading this–did I ever tell you “atta boy?”)

Also, since NS Tavern has violated many of the code enforcement laws by unauthorized activities–I wonder how the managing office or Army Corps of Engineers are going to react when they get calls and pictures of that activity.

Bad behavior breeds grumpy neighbors–and those are the peeps who can make or break you business around these parts.

Wonder what my neighbor has to say…

My thoughts on this concern just why the law enforcement peeps don’t follow through on some of the issues around these parts because that simple task could prevent the bigger issues–like jail time or fines.

Which brings up this story:

I think I told you my adventures down out at the sheriff’s department sometime back–you know, when the sheriff asked me if I owned a gun?

“We don’t get out to Fawnskin very much since Fawnskin Folks tend to take care of their own. Everyone owns a shotgun–you must own a shotgun?”

“Uh, no. I have a 38”

“See, there you go.”

Me: Speechless

“By the way, if you ever need assistance, make sure you give directions to dispatch. We don’t get out there much and often have a hard time finding places.”

Now, as usual, you might think I am making this up–I’m not.

That conversation really happened.

Plus, when I was finally forced to call law enforcement on my utility-stealing neighbor and his workers (who were often drunk or high and let their dog raise havoc on the streets and yards of Fawnskin)–the sheriff actually called me from North Shore for directions.

Really, it happened–and I just can’t make this kind of stuff up.

Anyway, I am sure you have something to say–so chime in below in the comments.

Photo Credit: Pil

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This entry was posted on Monday, July 19th, 2010 and is filed under Mountain Lake Resort, Mountain Wildlife, Small Town Living.

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3 Responses to “West Nile Virus & Other Irritants

  • 1
    Barbara Peterson
    July 19th, 2010 19:15

    This comment isn’t about this entry per se, but just to let you know I subscribed to your blog via the Kindle, only to find that the feed you selected does not send the entire entry of a post to the Kindle, but only the first paragraph.

    There’s a way you can fix that (don’t ask me what it is, but I know you can do it. Something about selecting “Complete Feed” when you’re setting up the blog, as opposed to..whatever you did select.)

    Anyway, just thought I’d let you know.

  • 2
    GG (Gossip Girl)
    July 20th, 2010 12:44

    Wow, I appreciate the heads-up. It was a glitch over in Feedburner that over rides the feed setting. Since I have a couple of other blogs up for Kindle I am going in to check those now. So glad that you stopped by to alert me to the problem–and thanks for subscribing.

  • 3
    Beauty & Bullsh** | Fawnskin Mountain Lake Resort
    July 23rd, 2010 05:41

    […] In case you don’t know, we don’t have police around these parts–only a sheriffs department and a general untold rule of “settle your disputes with your shotgun.” […]