As if you weren't already having a ball buster of a week, now you can add "Death by West Nile Virus" to the list of shit-you-don't-want-to-deal-with. On August 10, the NYC Department of Health found the West Nile virus in mosquitos through out zips covering Prospect Heights, Prospect Park and Park Slope -- just in time for Labor Day barbecues in the park!
Hypochondriacs, stop reading now.
Although only one person in New York City was diagnosed with the virus in the past month, a total of 252 New Yorkers have been diagnosed with West Nile since it was first found in the United States in 1999. That's not an alarming statistic when you consider the massive population of NYC, so here's a not-so-comforting statistic just to keep you on your toes: 80% of people afflicted with the virus experience no symptoms at all. The other 20% suffer flu-like symptoms: headache, fever, muscle ache and fatigue. No biggie, right? Oh, except for the part where it might cause an infection in your brain and spinal cord.
Let's work together to make sure you're not victim number 253! To school you in West Nile 101, here is a handy-dandy fact sheet for you to stick on the fridge and scare the shit out of your visitors. The list includes a definition of West Nile virus, what you can do to prevent it, what the symptoms are, how the disease is spread, and a bunch of other things that will make you completely paranoid.
On the bright side, now we all have a new excuse to call into work.