Editorial: West Nile Virus: Epidemic or Case for Concern?

The skies grow cloudy; the air becomes thick. Breathing becomes troublesome. An aircraft has dropped chemicals in the air near your home, in attempt to save the population from a potentially fatal disease.

With 112 confirmed cases of the West Nile Virus as of Aug. 31 in the state of Michigan and three of those leading to death, we are facing an epidemic.

The Center for Disease Control defines outbreaks and epidemics as “more cases of a particular disease than expected in a given area, or among a specific group of people, over a particular period of time.”

While we wouldn’t expect an area to have anyone affected by West Nile, the number of cases isn’t extremely high and usually only leads to flu-like symptoms, according to the Huffington Post. Most people affected by West Nile are age 70 and older, though there are exceptions, according to the CDC.

I’m not making light of the situation. Diseases that spread so easily and are potentially deadly are a serious issue. People should take caution when spending time outside by utilizing bug blocks like sprays and lotions.

But many areas, from Dallas, Texas to Sacramento County, Calif. and even local areas around the state seem to be taking it a little too far.

What started out as on-ground insecticides applied to swampy areas grew to a more widespread application that spreads into the air we breathe. More and more cities are performing aerial spraying and larviciding, which is the process of dropping chemicals from aircrafts in effort to exterminate the bugs.

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