How the West Nile Virus Spreads – Deet Alternatives in Natural
and Safe Mosquito Repellents
Worldwide mosquitoes transmit various diseases to more than 700, 000,000 people annually and they will be
responsible for the deaths of 1 of every 17 people currently alive, “CDC August 2002.”
During the summer of 1999, several mysterious deaths due to encephalitis in the New York area, prompted officials
at the CDC to investigate. Many dead birds (crows and blue jays) had also been reported in the same area
just before the human deaths. Soon West Nile Virus was confirmed to be the cause of death in the birds and
West Nile Virus causes encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). It is carried by birds which have been infected
through mosquito bites. The virus is located in the mosquito’s salivary glands. During blood feeding, the
virus may be injected into the animal or human, where it may multiply causing illness and death. Once an
infected bird migrates, then is bitten by mosquitoes in the new area, these newly infected mosquitoes can
then transmit the disease to humans and other animals. West Nile virus, had been found in humans, birds and
other vertebrates in Africa, Eastern Europe, West Asia, and the Middle East, but until 1999 had not been
documented in the Western Hemisphere.
It is not known from where the U.S. virus originated, but it is genetically, most closely related to strains
found in the Middle East. Some believe it was brought here by migrating birds, or maybe even the diabolical
intentional release of infected birds. However it got here, West Nile Virus appears to be firmly established
in the United States, and researchers expect its continued spread like wild fire throughout the states.
As of August 5, 2002, state health departments released information on 90 cases of West Nile virus related
human illness this year, including 4 deaths. From 1999 through 2001, there were 149 cases of West Nile virus
human illness in the United States reported to CDC and confirmed, including 18 deaths.
Beginning in 2002, West Nile virus has been documented in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, the District of
Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts,
Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota,
Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
In 2001, West Nile virus was detected in 27 mosquito species in the states. To date it is being detected in
over 91 new species. Which means it has spread quickly to other species of mosquitoes. Most of these species
feed at night, however several additional species of infected mosquitoes recently found are day feeders.
In the colder zones of the United States, West Nile encephalitis cases occur primarily in the late summer
or early fall. In the southern climates where temperatures are milder, West Nile virus can be transmitted
Crow samples are especially important because crows appear to be highly sensitive to the virus. Dead crows
can therefore act as sentinels for local transmission of the disease since they normally travel less than
200 miles. Infected crows can also help state and local health departments determine the risk to humans.
Ticks and Even Fleas May Soon Be Involved in the Transmission of West Nile Virus
Infected mosquitoes are the primary source for West Nile virus. Although ticks infected with West Nile virus
have been found in Asia and Africa, their role in the transmission and maintenance of the virus is uncertain.
West Nile virus has been shown to infect horses, cats, bats, chipmunks, skunks, squirrels, and domestic rabbits.
Article Courtesy of Herbal Remedies Newsletter, Editor – Deb Jackson
Products to Repel Mosquitoes.
Symptoms of West Nile Encephalitis
Most infections are mild, and symptoms include fever, headache, and body aches, occasionally with skin rash
and swollen lymph glands. More severe infection may be marked by headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor,
disorientation, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis, coma and death.
There is no specific therapy. In more severe cases, intensive supportive therapy is indicated, often involving
hospitalization, intravenous fluids, airway management, respiratory support (ventilator), prevention of secondary
infections (pneumonia, urinary tract, etc.), and good nursing care. There is currently no vaccine against
West Nile encephalitis.
How to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones
Keeping the immune system strong will help protect you and your family against the severe form of this life
threatening disease and other mosquito borne diseases.
Clear the areas around your home of All standing water. To develop, mosquitoes require an environment of standing
water. They have adapted to complete their life cycle in diverse aquatic habitats, including fresh water,
salt water marshes, brackish water, or water found in containers, old tires, flower pots or tree holes. The
eggs of most species hatch in 2 to 3 days, and the larvae feed on organic matter in the water for about a
week until they change into pupae. The pupae live at the surface of the water for 2 to 3 days before metamorphosing
into adult mosquitoes.
If you have outdoor activities planed, spray the area with Pyrethrum. Pyrethrum is a powerful, rapidly acting
insecticide, derived from the crushed and dried flowers of the daisy Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium. The Chemical
industry will tell you Pyrethrum is toxic to human and to use Permethrin which is a Human-Made synthetic
pyrethroid they say has low toxicity in mammals. But it cannot be used in certified organic gardens. Where
as Pyrethrum can and the professional organic gardeners will tell you Pyrethrum is Non-Toxic to most mammals,
making it among the safest insecticides in use. It is quickly inactivated by sunlight and air leaving no
residue to harm the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency has approved it for more uses than any
other insecticide. It’s sold under trade names that include Pyrenon, Red Arrow (pyrethrins/rotenone) and
DEET is Poison. The CDC and the FDA continue to claim that DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) is the most effective
repellent. Only formulas which contain 35% Deet are effective. DEET is a neurotoxin. It causes Encephalitis
as effectively as West Nile virus.
DEET toxicity reports exist in medical literature. Many cases of encephalopathy, in children younger than
8 years of age have been reported. Though it is said that many of these persons had a history of long-term,
excessive, or inappropriate use of DEET repellents. Can there be an appropriate use of Poison in children?
Spaying this stuff on a child is the same as pouring it in their mouths. Studies show that a child, especially
a young child, instinctively places their hand in their mouth approximately every 2 minutes. As for adults,
14 cases of contact urticaria and irritant contact dermatitis (mostly in soldiers) were reported in one year.
How many were not reported we will never know.
and Swelling of Mosquito Bites
A New And Exciting Discovery
Catnip Repels Mosquitoes More Effectively Than DEET.
CHICAGO, August 27, 2001 – Researchers report that nepetalactone, the essential oil in catnip that gives the
plant its characteristic odor, is about ten times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET – the
compound used in most commercial insect repellents.
The finding was reported today at the 222nd national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world’s
largest scientific society, by the same Iowa State University research group that two years ago discovered
that catnip also repels cockroaches.
Entomologist Chris Peterson, Ph.D., with Joel Coats, Ph.D., chair of the university’s entomology department,
led the effort to test catnip’s ability to repel mosquitoes. Peterson, a former Post-Doctoral research associate
at the school, is now with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Wood Products Insects Research
Unit, in Starkville, Miss.
While they used so-called yellow fever mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti), one of several species of mosquitoes found
in the United States, Peterson says catnip should work against all types of mosquitoes.
Peterson put groups of 20 mosquitoes in a two-foot glass tube, half of which was treated with nepetalactone.
After 10 minutes, only an average of 20 percent- about four mosquitoes – remained on the side of the tube
treated with a high dose (1.0 percent) of the oil. In the low-dose test (0.1 percent) with nepetalactone,
an average of 25 percent – five mosquitoes – stayed on the treated side.
The same tests with DEET (diethyl-m- toluamide) resulted in approximately 40 percent to 45 percent – eight-nine
mosquitoes – remaining on the treated side. In the laboratory, repellency is measured on a scale ranging
from +100 percent, considered highly repellent, to -100 percent, considered a strong attractant. A compound
with a +100 percent repellency rating would repel all mosquitoes, while 100 percent would attract them all.
A rating of zero means half of the insects would stay on the treated side and half on the untreated side.
In Peterson’s tests, catnip ranged from +49 percent to +59 percent at high doses, and +39 percent to +53
percent at low doses. By comparison, at the same doses, DEET’s repellency was only about +10 percent in this
bioassay, he notes.
Peterson says nepetalactone is about 10 times more effective than DEET because it takes about one-tenth as
much nepetalactone as DEET to have the same effect. Most commercial insect repellents contain about 5 percent
to 25 percent DEET. Presumably, much less catnip oil would be needed in a formulation to have the same level
of repellency as a DEET, based repellent.
Catnip is a perennial herb belonging to the mint family and grows wild in most parts of the United States,
although it also is cultivated for commercial use. Catnip is native to Europe and was introduced to this
country in the late 18th century. It is primarily known for the stimulating effect it has on cats, although
some people use the leaves in tea, as a meat tenderizer and even as a folk treatment for fevers, colds, cramps
and migraines. (American Chemical Society original source.)
Natural Insect Repellent Made with Catnip Oil
Article by Deb Jackson, who is an herbalist, freelance writer, editor, and artist.
Can Mosquitoes Transmit AIDS?
Mosquitoes cannot transmit HIV because the virus neither survives nor replicates in mosquitoes and the blood
from the last bitten person is not flushed into the next person during subsequent feeds. In addition, the
circulating viral load of most HIV infected persons is so low that the theoretical risk that a mosquito bite
would transmit HIV is estimated to be less than 1 in 10,000,000. (American College of Physicians-American
Society of Internal Medicine).
The obvious question here is, If HIV cannot possibly be transmitted by mosquitoes, WHY is there a 1 chance
in 10,000,000 of it happening to even one person?
More information on this can be found in our free online health magazine.