Many folks are aware that West Nile virus was recently discovered in Boston, as well as around the United States. People I have talked to feel nervous and helpless. That all they can do is slather on mosquito repellant and wear long clothes, while praying that scientists will come up with a miraculous new poison, mosquito trap, or genetic engineering technique.
Well, they are wrong.
Of course preventing mosquito bites is important, but what you can do is:
- If you develop fever, go to your health care provider and ask if you should be tested for West Nile virus. The more cases we diagnose, the more data we will have as we advocate for funding.
- Write letters to your Congresspeople, Senators, and the President of the United States asking for immediate funding for West Nile virus surveillance.
- If you see dead blue jays, crows, or other birds, call your local public health authorities. The phone numbers here are (617) 624-6000 (Massachusetts Department of Public Health), and the Boston Public Health Commission (617) 534-5611.
- Take photos of the dead birds and post on Instagram/ Twitter, with the hashtag #WestNile. Tag @CDC_NCEZID @CDCgov @CDCDirector @HealthyBoston @MassDPH @philiplederer
- Buy a bicycle and stop driving if you can. We need to stop climate change because global warming is likely having an impact on West Nile virus as well as other emerging viruses.
- Watch my friend Axel’s music video below, not only because he is very talented, but also because there’s no need to panic about West Nile. Go out and enjoy life! Happy Sunday!
And now for something completely different, a Phil Ochs song…