Warmer weather may mean more West Nile outbreaks

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Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 5:51 pm | Updated: 6:10 pm, Tue Jul 16, 2013.

After declining over the past five years, the number of mosquito-borne West Nile Virus infections resurged in 2012.

A new study ties the increase to a warmer winter.

Dr. Susan Rehm, who treats infectious diseases at Cleveland Clinic said, “Global warming, climate change may be having an impact because the warmer winters means that there are more mosquitoes in the following year.“

The biggest resurgence in West Nile virus infections last year occurred in Dallas County, Texas.

The overall incidence rate grew to 7.30 per 100,000 residents, compared with 2.91 in 2006.

So, researchers with the Dallas County Health and Human Services looked at the reasons why. They discovered there were an increased number of days between december and february where the temperature did not fall below 28 degrees.

Researchers say the prevalence increases the more days you have over 28 degrees.

Dr. Rehm said, mild winter or not, there are things you can do to decrease your chances of being bitten.

Dr. Rehm added, “Wear long-sleeves, long pants, if you’re going to be outside for an extended period of time. Use mosquito repellant, get rid of standing water in your area and the classic thing, of course, are old tires, empty tires that hold a little bit of water.”

Complete findings are in the “Journal of the American Medical Association.”

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