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West Nile Virus Could Still Have an Impact in WNY, Says UB Professor of Medicine

Release Date: August 24, 2012

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"August and September are ideal times to see an increase in West Nile virus because that is when mosquitoes are at full strength," says UB's Lee.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Unlike other areas such as Dallas and some parts of Oklahoma, Western New York has seen only one case of West Nile virus, and the patient who was hospitalized with symptoms has since been released.

But Richard Lee, MD, professor of medicine at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, says it's too early to assume that we won't see a spike in cases, even though we are now into late summer.

"August and September are ideal times to see an increase in West Nile virus because that's when mosquitoes are at full strength. I would expect to see more cases in the region," says Lee.

"I think the high incidence of West Nile in Texas is a regional phenomenon related to extraordinary heat and a lot of bad water management," he says.

Lee notes that there is plenty that can be done to reduce mosquito-breeding and the incidence of West Nile virus.

"People should empty flower pots of water that hasn't been absorbed, pick up all trash because trash provides a place for water to collect, properly dispose of tires and exercise caution around other people's gardens, especially if there are puddles nearby," he says.

"People should be especially careful on golf courses where grass is regularly watered to keep it looking green and where there are also ponds," he adds.

What would be particularly worrisome to Lee? "I would get really worried if there began to be a lot of reports of dead birds in the area because birds are the principal reservoir for West Nile virus," he says, noting that crows and bluebirds are particularly vulnerable.

Media Contact Information

Ellen Goldbaum
Senior Editor, Medicine
Tel: 716-645-4605
goldbaum@buffalo.edu
Twitter: @egoldbaum