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West Nile Virus

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[Kevin McGowen]

“I first received calls about oddly sick crows in the New York City area the last week of August 1999. Several people called me about finding sick and unusually approachable crows, as well as an unusual number of dead crows. Finding dead birds (other than roadkills or window strikes) is unusual, as most sick birds seem to find some quiet and hidden place to die. Finding one dead crow doesn’t mean much, but finding several crows within a short period of time is highly unusual and indicates that something odd is going on.

I first suspected a poisoning event, especially since someone had been poisoning pigeons in Central Park just previous to the finding of dead crows. The state pathologist’s lab, however, got some of the dead crows and tested them for a number of things, but found no indication of pesticide poisoning. Instead, the symptoms were consistent with a viral infection. When I spoke with them in mid September they had sent samples to a lab in Colorado, but had not yet received the results.

At the same time the outbreak of “St. Louis encephalitis” was being reported in much the same areas where crows were being found dead. It seemed odd to me that crows would be dying from that disease, as most birds that are exposed to it get mildly sick, but do not die from it. A new disease of some other source of crow mortality made more sense.

On 23 September, the State of New York Department of Health released the information that several bird specimens from the NYC area had been diagnosed as being infected with a virus that most closely resembled West Nile virus. These birds included a crow from Westchester County, as well as birds from the Bronx Zoo. Exact connections between the birds and the human illnesses have been difficult to establish (as is to be expected).”…

“The 17 Dec 1999 issue of Science had two articles on West Nile. One [Lanciotti, R.S., et al. 1999. Origin of the West Nile Virus Responsible for an Outbreak of Encephalitis in the Northeastern United States. Science 286 (5448): 2333-2337] described the strain found in North America as matching a strain isolated from the brain of a dead “goose” in Israel in 1998 (no species given, nor any indication if it was a wild or domestic bird). The authors state “The WN virus could have entered the Western Hemisphere through a number of mechanisms, including travel by infected humans, imporation of illegal birds or other domestic pets, or unintentional introduction of virus-infected ticks or mosquitoes.”


[July 21, 2000]  “71-year-old man who died in Staten Island on Wednesday was not infected with the West Nile virus, city officials said yesterday. The man, a visitor from South Carolina…” [photo of spraying the streets from a pick-up truck]
 [Connecticut] “… resident Michael Guroian hung a 20-by-30-inch sign in front of his Fieldstone Road home with the words, “I object to being poisoned” written in big letters…” I cannot understand how spraying from the road will help the problem. . . . What happens to the mosquitoes that are breeding and swarming in the swamp areas where there are no roads?” he said. “Most of the mosquitoes will survive. This will not stop the spread of the West Nile virus.” –citizens complained that spraying was rescheduled without notice and many were caught having to walk and travel through the pesticide fog.
[Aug 30, 200]  “Nassau County has decided to begin ground spraying of pesticides to fight the West Nile virus, becoming one of the last counties in the metropolitan New York area this year to do so, after finding infected mosquitoes within its boundaries.” …
[Sep 21, 2000]  “In a lawsuit over New York City’s use of pesticides to control West Nile virus, a lawyer for a coalition of environmental groups argued yesterday that using the chemicals in heavily populated areas violated federal and state environmental laws. After showing a videotape of spray trucks emitting plumes of Anvil, a pesticide, over sidewalks in Harlem, Karl S. Coplan, the lawyer, told Judge John S. Martin Jr. of Federal District Court in Manhattan that spraying the chemicals had violated federal laws.”…    


“In the New York outbreak, 67 people became ill. Symptoms of West Nile virus encephalitis seemed to include more muscle weakness than in other forms of encephalitis, said Dale Morse, MS, MD, director of the office of science and public health at the New York State Department of Health. In serious cases, patients had to be hospitalized about four days after the onset of symptoms.”   …”Since the New York outbreak in 1999, the virus has been detected in 37 states as far west as Texas and in Canada.” [as of Sep 2002] “It has been relatively rapid as these things go”, said Stanford T. Shulman, M.D., FAAP, division head of infectious disease at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago and professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.”…
“Most cases are mild, with people showing no symptoms or having a fever, headache and body aches… Most of the serious US cases to date have involved the elderly, according to the CDC. Only 1% of people bitten by infected mosquitoes become seriously ill and of that group, 3% to 15% of cases are fatal. …As of August 14 [2002], 156 human cases of West Nile virus encephalitis or meningitis had been reported and 9 people had died”… “cases of the disease have plummeted in New York over the last two years. Only 14 cases were reported in each of 2000 and 2001…”This is a testament to the success of the city’s mosquito control program”, Dr. Essajee said.”…  “West Nile virus is in the family of arboviruses affecting the central nervous system…..there is no cure for encephalitis”
The Rockefeller’s Charles M. Rice, who’s considered a leading world expert virologist, classes the West Nile Virus as a flavivirus:
[Project BioShield grantee#2] Apath LLC, St. Louis, Mo.; founded 1997 and based in Brooklyn New York; founder Dr. Charles M. Rice; Dr. Rice is a lab chief at Rockefeller Univ.; “Head of the Laboratory of Virology and Infectious Disease at The Rockefeller University. He is one of the world’s most accomplished virologists and a prominent figure in research on members of the Flaviviridae including hepatitis C virus (HCV).” 
“In 1957, the virus was blamed for the deaths of several elderly patients in Israel. In 1960, it was observed in horses in Egypt and France. In 1999,
Æ999, a strain said to be virtually identical to the Israeli strain was detected in New York City.” >>those are strong words in ‘virus’ terms, meaning this is the same virus<<

 Jerome M. Hauer – Director of BioPort/Emergent BioSolutions since 2004; Hauer had a significant role in the events of September 11. He became  the first director of the New York City (Mayor Giuliani’s) Office of Emergency Management, a position created in 1996, 3 years after the first WTC bombing. During his tenure, Hauer organized the construction of the WTC7 Command post, begun in June of 1998, and directed the pesticide spraying for St. Louis encephalitis and/or West Nile Virus As a directing manager of Kroll (security), Hauer hired ‘Osama Bin Laden expert’ John O’Neill who started his new job on Sept.10 and died in the demolition on 9-11. Hauer is considered the nation’s leading expert on bioterrorism, and has himself contributed to work on bioweapons and is currently listed as a director of Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals in San Diego. [see blog article ‘Anti-Radiation Drugs’]


  2000       2001         2002


“In 2002, West Nile virus spread westward. Activity was reported in all but six states (i.e., Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, Alaska, and Hawaii) and triggered the largest human arboviral encephalitis epidemic in U.S. history. From June 10 to December 31, 2002, there were 4,156 cases of West Nile virus infection (including 284 deaths) reported in 39 states and the District of Columbia.2  Because of the increasing prevalence of West Nile virus, family physicians should have a solid understanding of the epidemiology, clues to early diagnosis, clinical implications, and preventive strategies in humans”

2002 map of the states from CDC

2003 WNV activity in the USA, yearly report : 9,862 cases, 264 deaths

2004 WNV activity in the USA, CDC year report: 2539 cases, 100 deaths

2005 WNV activity in the USA, yearly report : 3000 cases, 119 deaths

2006 WNV activity in the USA, yearly report: 4,269 cases, 177 deaths

2007 WNV activity in the USA, yearly report: 3,630 cases, 124 deaths

2008 WNV activity in the USA, final report : 1,356 cases, 44 deaths

2009 WNV activity in the USA, reported Dec.2009: 663 cases, 30 deaths

West Nile Pesticides

Synergistic ingredients:

Pesticide information

“The pesticide mixture being used is an adulticide (kills adult mosquitoes) containing synthetic [WWW]pyrethroids and Piperonyl Butoxide, or [WWW]PBO. Pyrethrins are found in the African flower Chrysanthemum cineriaefolium. They operate by blocking chemical signals in the nerve junctions of insects. PBO is a synergist that inhibits cytochrome P450, a class of enzymes that break down pesticides, thus increasing the effectiveness of low amounts of pyrethrins. It allows the pyrethrins to act longer inside the insects, but it is not itself a pesticide. For more information, see [WWW]The VCD FAQ. The name the district uses for the pesticide is “Evergreen 60-6.”

There is no such thing as a safe pesticide, however, synthetic pyrethroids are some of the safest insecticides. The pesticides being used will also degrade in the sunlight. Yet, if the pesticide reaches our waterways, it may have negative effects on the environment.

While they are considered safe for organisms living in the [WWW]water column the toxicity of pyrethroids to sediment dwelling organisms is relatively unknown, with this precursory study showing negative results on an [WWW]indicator species for sediment toxicity. Here is a quote:

“About one-fifth of our Central Valley sediment samples are toxic to a standard testing species due to a class of pesticides no one has tested for before, for which there are little data on their toxicology when sediment-bound, and which are being promoted as an alternative to the increasingly restricted organophosphate insecticides…I don’t want to give the impression that pyrethroids are destroying the streams, since that has not yet been shown, but if we are serious about maintaining stream health, we have to consider the sediments and not limit our sampling just to the water above.”

Also, [WWW]this study done after the spraying in Sacramento in 2005 shows that lingering [WWW]PBO increases the toxicity of existing pesticides in the environment, even while no detectable amount of pyrethrins from the mosquito spray could be found. Here is a quote:

The research team found that the level of PBO from the mosquito spray was high enough to double the toxicity of pyrethroids already present – primarily bifenthrin, one of the more toxic chemicals of the group. PBO, when in a pesticide product, can increase pyrethroid toxicity tenfold or more, but to see even a doubling of toxicity due to PBO in creek waters was unexpected.”




Written by citizen2009

February 12, 2010 at 4:14 am

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