I sure am glad everyone is getting so worked up over West Nile Virus. Please! In my not-so-expert opinion, this fiasco could go down as the most ridiculous scare since Y2K. While I understand that city and university officials must cater to the fears of parents sending their children off to school for the first time, I also feel it is my duty to remind everyone how extraordinarily difficult it is to die from West Nile.
Hoo-Ray! The government will save us
Larimer and Weld Counties have both declared a state of emergency, and the state is applying for $4.5 million in Federal Funds to combat the disease’s superfluous spread. $4.5 million is being spent to combat the spread of an illness that – surprise – only kills those who are already dying. An established fact about West Nile is that 80% of people infected don’t ever get any symptoms, and the vast majority of the remaining 20% have only mild flu-like symptoms. If that has not convinced you that $4.5 million tax dollars are being wasted, how about the fact that the “spraying” campaign, of which the lion’s share of the federal money is earmarked for, has not been conclusively proven to do anything to combat the spread of the disease. What does all this mean? It means the elderly vote in disproportionately large numbers.
In these tumultuous times of economic hardships the university is increasing class sizes and decreasing staff and student support services. However, today every freshman moving into the Residence Halls will be issued insect repellant. I could be wrong, but I seriously doubt any of them is a 73-year-old woman with an artificial hip and emphysema.
You have a better chance of dying from the flu or drowning in a bathtub than from being killed by West Nile. I apologize for not finding out the total cost of the DEET wipes being handed out to the freshman today, but the more pressing question is where are the “safe bathing” kits?
The Penalty of Procrastination
When I woke up with a fever and a stiff neck on July 2, I took three Advil and went to work. After an hour or so, the fever went away and I was fine. This process repeated itself for about a week, during which I joked around with my pals about how this whole “West Nile” sickness was not as bad as everyone made it out to be. I even went as far as to kid about how if I got tested, I could be the state’s first confirmed case. By about mid-July I was better and news of the cases started appearing on the news. Curses, I could have been first had I just been sick enough to go to the doctor!
Back in the Real World
If you find yourself actually getting symptoms like fever, stiffness, or rash, be on the safe side and go get tested for the virus. Or you could tough it out because if you are the one of the 0.73 out of 100,000 people who are going die from West Nile Virus no doctor will be able to save you anyway.