All Lyle Petersen wanted to do was get his mail.
In the time it took him to walk down his driveway in Fort Collins, Colorado, chat briefly with a neighbor and return to his house, Petersen got infected with a potentially serious mosquito-borne illness called West Nile virus. Within hours of being bitten, he said, he began to feel symptoms he recognized.
And how was he sure so quickly? Petersen, as director of the division of vector borne diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is one of the foremost experts in the world on the condition. A blood test confirmed his suspicion.
"From my own experience, I can tell you it's not a very mild illness," Petersen cautioned. "It will ruin your summer."
Experts are expecting another epidemic of the disease this summer. The incidence of West Nile virus has remained the same for the past four years, and Petersen says he doesn't expect this year to be any different. It should reach its peak between mid-July and mid-September. Health Minute: More on West Nile virus risk Read full article »