What ever happened to the West Nile Virus? Like H1N1 it was taken out of proportion and a big North American crisis created to protect us, or distract us. The diminishing population of birds had contributed to a rise in insect population. Don’t forget that we not only affect birds with our industrialization, urbanization and destruction of habitat. Our intolerance, especially the intolerance of the agricultural industry has lead to numerous extermination of mass numbers of birds. Of course mother nature has a hand to play in it from bad weather to forest fires.
The crisis, too many insects, especially those pesky mosquitoes. West Nile virus had been present for many years, first reported in Uganda in 1937 it eventually made its first detectable appearance in Queens, NY in 1999. As the number of insectivores decreased and the number of Mosquitoes increased a crisis had to be conjured up in order to justify mass spraying for the good of humanity. The West Nile Virus Epidemic was announced, every year more and more birds were found infected and every year they were infected earlier than the previous year.
So we sprayed and eventually the rumors of “CONTROL OVER THE SITUATION” made there way into the media convincing us that we were now safe! Unfortunately Mosquitoes and many insects reproduce faster than our friends the insectivore birds and other beneficial insects such as the Bee. Bees are in constant decline due to the abusive use of pesticides in the agricultural world even from apparently Bee friendly insecticides.
Today we hear very little about the West Nile Virus. The number of pesky bugs has declined and with less insects there’s less food for birds, especially hatchlings leaving us to depend on chemicals to establish a balance in nature that meets our egotistical needs. Yet as of May, 24 2011 the Canadian Warbler, in danger of extinction, is still infected 10 to 1 over Black Crows in Canada. 32 individuals spanning 20 different species of birds have been found dead so far across Canada. (CCWHC – Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Center – http://www.ccwhc.ca/wnv_report_2011.php)
Just like birds, mammals (Humans, horses, Red Fox…) are at risk of contracting the West Nile Virus. The number of infections are still very high but it’s no longer an epidemic. Things are still very much out of balance and no real life scientific data is ever used to manage the problems long term. We only satisfy the short term needs of the powerful Lobbying Groups.