As just another example of the unintended consequences of the downturn in the housing market, researchers in California are attributing the >200% increase in lab confirmed West Nile cases to neglected and abandoned pools and hot tubs (abstract). In 2007, Kern county, CA suffered the largest mosquito-born encephalitis virus outbreak since the 1950’s, which paralleled the increase in number of forclosed and abandoned homes (with associated pools and hot tubs). This interesting and unfortunate phenomenon reminds us that any standing water can serve as a breeding ground for mosquito-borne illnesses. Click here to see the 2008 West Nile CDC map (map) and keep your fingers crossed for the 2009 forecast.
Dr. Scheurer is a clinical hospitalist and the Medical Director of Quality and Safety at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina, and is Assistant Professor of Medicine. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, completed her residency at Duke University, and completed her Masters in Clinical Research at the Medical University of South Carolina. She also serves as the Web Editor and Physician Advisor for the Society of Hospital Medicine.