Compared to other threats to life, it certainly isn't the most onerous one on the list. But the dismissive attitude of friends and colleagues toward the issue prompted me to write this.
If it prevents one infection, it's worth it.
Here's the text version:
West Nile’s danger
Published Friday, September 9, 2005
Free Press London
In our technologically advanced age, it’s easy for us to dismiss the repeated warnings about the West Nile Virus.
We assume only other people get it. We also assume it’s only a threat to folks who are already in poor health, or the elderly. We nonchalantly read about another infection or death in the paper before going back to our daily routine.
More folks die from motor vehicle accidents and other diseases, after all, so
West Nileis easy to dismiss.
It’s an attitude we might want to reconsider in light of the city’s just-announced second death from this mosquito-borne virus. We are all at risk. Kids, adults, healthy or not.
If you do nothing else today, take a walk around your house to get rid of stagnant water (kiddie pool anyone?) and fix any lingering holes in screens, windows and doors. Wear light-coloured clothing with long sleeves and pants.
Put on insect repellent with DEET, and teach your kids that this is no laughing matter.
Better to be careful than sorry.
Update: This piece has an interesting history. I was in Seattle this week attending a conference. I filed my columns remotely before heading off to the conference site. The hotel where I stayed has free wireless (bless them) in the lobby. It's a two-level, funky-looking environment that is a highly cool place to get work done.
Which is precisely what I did. Rather than jack into the wired Ethernet router in my room, I'd head downstairs, plug in my headphones and work among the folks who work and stay here. At various times, I found myself in the middle of a DJ-driven party, a pre-wedding get-together, and a pre-breakfast business strategy session.
All told, it was inspiring to be in this place. Context shapes creativity, and this workplace certainly qualifies. I hope to return soon to see if I can repeat the magic.
I wrote this piece literally on the fly. As I was heading home today, I had to file this before I headed off to the airport - at just after 6 a.m. After getting my requisite 2 hours of sleep - I'd been doing my regular writing late at night to compensate for the fact that I'd been attending the conference during the day - I woke late, threw my clothes on, panic-packed and headed downstairs to check out.
I wrote quickly as I carefully watched the clock count down. I couldn't miss the shuttle to the airport. I filed the piece with about 5 minutes to spare. Another day at the office, and another reason why I love this writing thing so much :)