1. It was first identified in Uganda in 1937; it’s thought the virus first emerged about 1,000 years ago.
2. Some people think that West Nile Virus may have been responsible for Alexander the Great’s death.
3. In 2002, the CDC reported 4,156 cases of WNV in the U.S.; 884 of those were reported from the state of Illinois.
4. In 2011, the number of reported cases was down to 712. The greatest number of cases that year (158) were in California.
5. The CDC states that “West Nile encephalitis and West Nile meningitis are forms of severe disease that affect a person’s nervous system.” The less severe West nile fever shows no sign of “neuoinvasion.”
6. Approximately 80 percent of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all.
7. The most common route of transmission is through mosquito bites from an infected mosquito.
8. Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours. (And to be safe, use repellent at other times as well.)
9. People over 50 are at the highest risk of developing severe West Nile disease.
10. Mosquitos often become infected through contact with infected birds – so if you find a dead bird, do NOT handle it with your bare hands. (Which is kind of a gross thing to do anyway, Dude.)