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West Nile Virus Death In California

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, August 26, 2008 11:31 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: West Nile Virus, DEET, Insecticides, EPA, CDC

A death in California from West Nile virus. 



IMAGE SOURCE: WikiMedia Commons/ biting mosquito/ U.S. Dept. of Agriculture


A 72-year old woman from Buena Park, California likely died from a mosquito bite which led to complications from a West Nile virus infection, health authorities report.

It is the first fatality from West Nile in Orange County in four years. So far this year, 30 cases of West Nile have been reported in the Orange County area of Southern California.

At the height of human infection there in 2004, 710 contracted the virus and 21 died.

Tests confirmed the woman died from neuroinvasive disease, which can result from the virus and is the most serious form of the disease. Health authorities report the incidents are on the rise and is usually found in people over the age of 50.

No one knows why there are more cases of the neurological form so far this year. Neuroinvasive disease can affect up to 1 in 150 infected with the West Nile virus and can include symptoms such as muscle weakness, convulsions and paralysis

About one in five people infected develop flu-like symptoms which include headache, fever, body aches and occasionally a skin rash as well as swollen lymph glands. The symptoms can last several weeks.

In rare cases, symptoms can escalate to encephalitis, meningitis and death. 

The West Nile virus is transferred by mosquitoes that feed on birds carrying the virus in their blood.

One of the signs of West Nile infections is the high number of dead infected birds being found in Southern California. Some believe the high number of abandoned, foreclosed homes with swimming pools serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

So far in California, 112 cases of human West Nile have been confirmed with August and October being the peak time for infections. California also reports the highest number of cases of encephalitis and meningitis resulting from West Nile virus.

There have been three deaths nationwide, as tracked by the CDC

Mosquitoes are lured by the carbon dioxide you exhale, body heat, lactic acid and hexanoic acid you emit. And there are some people who are more attractive to mosquitoes than others.

So how to avoid them?  Don’t go out at dawn or dusk when mosquitoes are heavies. Treat clothing with permethrin such as REI and Adventure 16. Wear clothes that cover as much skin as you can.  While the repellant DEET works best, but the CDC recommends using the lowest concentration possible because of concerns about safety, that’s under 30 percent. (EPA)

DEET has been linked to brain cell death and behavior changes in rate. Some people don’t like its odor and the Environmental Protection Agency says DEET has been linked to seizures in children. Its use is not advised for children under two months of age and pregnant women. Manufacturers advise against using DEET under clothing or on broken skin.

It is found to have toxicity to coldwater fish such as rainbow trout and tilapia.

Research on DEET is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  

Picaridin is another synthetic repellent and the active ingredient in Cutter Advanced Sport. 

But researchers are looking at safer, more natural alternatives to the synthetics. Oil of lemon eucalyptus is found in both Repel and Cutter sprays.   

Other herbs such as capnip, celery, geraniums, soybeans and tomatoes also repel bugs as do plant-based ingredients including geraniol and soybeans as well as citronella.

The makers believe mosquito’s sense of smell is confused into thinking that you are a plant and not a human. 

Regarding safe repellant use –

  • do not use them on pets unless stated they are for pets
  • always follow the instructions on the product label
  • Apply repellents only to exposed skin and/or clothing (as directed on the product label)
  • Do not use repellents under clothing
  • Never use repellents over cuts, wounds or irritated skin
  • Do not apply to eyes or mouth, and apply sparingly around ears. When using sprays, do not spray directly on face—spray on hands first and then apply to face
  • Do not allow children to handle the product  #

1 Comment

Posted by Dave Moskowitz MD FACP
Tuesday, August 26, 2008 1:15 PM EST

This is the same 72 yr old woman we issued a press release about on Sat Aug 23rd: GenoMed's West Nile Record for the Week: 2-1

Content: Dated: 8/23/2008


David W. Moskowitz MD
CEO, GenoMed
Tel. 314.983.9938

ST. LOUIS—August 23, 2008—GenoMed® (OTC Pink Sheets GMED.PK), the Public Health Company™, announced today that it has logged two victories against West Nile virus encephalitis, and one tragic defeat.

The two victories were in horses. One was from Alicante, Spain, proving that the Internet makes everybody essentially next-door neighbors, and the other from Kansas. Both owners found GenoMed on the Internet and contacted the company within 12 hours of their horses' diagnosis. The horses were diagnosed by veterinarians the same day as they showed symptoms--wobbly hind legs.

The death was in a 72 year old woman from Orange County, California. Her diagnosis came only after she had been in coma for 6 days. This is the typical turn-around time for public health laboratories to confirm that a patient has West Nile virus antibodies in their serum or spinal fluid. Within minutes of receiving the diagnosis, her family located GenoMed on the Internet, and she was started on GenoMed's treatment protocol that same night. Unfortunately, GenoMed has never had any success when the patient has been in coma for 3 days or more.

Said David Moskowitz MD, GenoMed's CEO and Chief Medical Officer, "These results illustrate why horses currently have a better chance of surviving West Nile virus encephalitis than humans."

Dr. Moskowitz continued, "The main reason is that veterinarians make the diagnosis faster and have already been treating West Nile virus encephalitis as an inflammatory condition. They routinely use injections of Benamine, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, and Dexamethasone, a steroid. Adding a blood pressure pill they know to be safe to help calm down the 'cytokine storm' is no big deal for them. Vets make the diagnosis the same day as the horse has symptoms, and they start our treatment immediately."

Dr. Moskowitz ended by saying, "The CDC is actually hurting WNV patients. Just saying 'No' to mosquitoes is ridiculous advice. Since 2003, the CDC has refused to let Americans know that our treatment exists. Plus, the CDC takes a week to make the diagnosis. By that time, it's way too late. Physicians should think about our approach for any patient with viral meningitis and not wait for WNV antibody results from the CDC."

About GenoMed

GenoMed, a genomics-based Disease Management company in St. Louis, has had encouraging results treating West Nile virus encephalitis since 2003: about 80% treatment success rate in people (23 of 29 improved) and horses (8 of 10 survived), and 50% in birds (6 of 12 survived). GenoMed's first 8 human WNV patients were published in a peer-reviewed medical journal in 2004, meaning that the Company's treatment officially exists in both the medical and legal senses. The earlier the treatment is begun, the better the outcome, so public education is key. Anybody who wants to download GenoMed's WNV trial protocol can do so for free at any time by clicking on the "West Nile trial" link on GenoMed's homepage at LINK

Safe Harbor Statement

This press release contains forward looking statements, including those statements pertaining to GenoMed, Inc.'s (the Company's) finances and treatments. The words or phrases "ought to," "should," "could," "may," or similar expressions are intended to identify "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward looking statements as a result of a number of risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to our research and development being subject to scientific, economic, regulatory, governmental, and technological factors. Statements made herein are as of the date of this press release and should not be relied upon as of any subsequent date. Unless otherwise required by applicable law, we specifically disclaim any obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect occurrences, developments, unanticipated events or circumstances after the date of such statement.

Comments for this article are closed.

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