Year 2000: Diary
WNV Encephalitis and Smog
This is a little out of date:
Continue with the newer, improved, Timeline2000
In reverse chronological order:
Successful Predictions of WNV Activity
The predictions of WNV activity made on 8/16/00 have proven partially successful with the recent NYCDOH announcements of 8/17/00, and 8/18/00. There may be an error of magnitude, not time. But an error cannot be assumed yet.
To summarize the prediction of 8/16/00: There will be a few more days of NYCDOH announcements (except for discoveries of live vectors that can carry the virus for 5 days), followed by at least a week of diminished WNV activity (no NYCDOH announcements re WNV positives).
Since the paradigm can predict "WNV" activity at least a week in advance, and because it takes a week for the NYCDOH to do "isolate" WNV and do PCR tests, another prediction is made now:
The NYCDOH will feel a need to compete with these predictions. 5 ways are possible:
1) Use seropositives rather than PCR for press releases. These antibody reaction tests can be done quickly. PCR, when following "isolation" of 6-7 days, takes 7-9 days to complete. 2) Move to 'real-time' PCR tests that take only hours. This technology may not yet be ready. 3) Exclude dates of discovery for human, bird, and mosquito events. As of 8/17/00, this is so re birds and mosquitoes. 4) Further conceal information regarding WNV positives to exclude descriptions of "live vs dead" vectors. Live vectors can carry the virus for up to 5 days and are thus a consideration for predictions. 5) Ignore the predictions and continue with media dominance.
NYCDOH PR: 8/18/2000
"...announced today that three mosquito pools from Staten Island, one bluejay from Dongan Hills, Staten Island, 1 bluejay from Douglaston, Queens and 1 bluejay from Alley Pond, Queens have tested positive for West Nile virus. All of these areas were sprayed subsequent to these findings. Additionally, 1 American Kestril from Neponsit, Queens, and 1 American Kestril from Woodside, Queens have also tested positive for West Nile virus. These findings were reported to the City Health Department today by the New York State Department of Health."
See comment, 8/17/2000. Again, note that NYCDOH, no longer gives dates of discovery.
NYCDOH PR: 8/17/2000
"23 mosquito pools in Staten Island, 3 mosquito pools from Central park, Manhattan, and 1 mosquito pool from Hunts Point in the Bronx test positive for West Nile virus."
"3 dead crows: one in northern Manhattan; one in Central Park; and one in Whitestone Queens, test positive for West Nile virus."
This is an immediate, partial fulfillment of yesterday's prediction of 8/16/00. Currently it takes 7 to 10 days to lab test mosquitoes, crows and humans according to a review of past press releases. Thus these events probably occurred 8/7 to 8/10/00. It is necessary to estimate these dates, because the NYCDOH has suddenly departed from previous protocol, and not provided dates of samples taken, or crows found. Only the date of the press release, 8/17/00, was provided.
NYCDOH PR: 8/16/2000
"New York City Health Commissioner Neal L. Cohen, M.D., announced today that the New York State Department of Health confirmed yesterday that blood samples obtained from five live wild birds collected in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn have tested positive for West Nile virus. Blood samples from four sparrows and one mockingbird were collected on August 2 and August 3. Blood samples from 89 other birds that were trapped in Greenwood Cemetery were found to be negative for the virus. As a result of these findings, a two mile radius of the Greenwood Cemetery, including Prospect Park, will be ground-sprayed on Friday and Saturday evenings."
Emailed 8/16/00, 11:32pm to 5 people:
"No one has found a formula predicting how it makes its leap to a human outbreak from the circumstances now seen in southern New York." -- NYT 8/8/00
TO THE CONTRARY, FOR THE RECORD
I'm predicting the city will soon announce that a few WNV human cases and bird positives had been discovered with onsets during the period of 8/7 through 8/11. My clue is high neurotoxic industrial ozone and ongoing neurotoxic MTBE levels in that period. Ozone levels can be viewed on the EPA website www.epa.gov/airnow/maparch.html. Industrial, ground level ozone is representative of photochemical smog, which includes neurotoxic aromatic nitros.
I also predict that the city will NOT announce any WNV human onsets for the period 8/12 through 8/20. I've determined this by viewing the EPA ozone archives, which show low ozone levels for this period, and from recent weather forecasts, which predict cool weather for this period. Cool weather correlates with low ozone levels.
Note: City announcements seem to occur several days after onset of WNV cases (onset determined from the event of hospital admittance and subsequently gathered patient history of illness). Delay is due to seropositive test and PCR confirmation time requirements.
-- Jim West
NYCDOH PR: 8/12/2000
"New York City Health Commissioner Neal L. Cohen, M.D., announced today that a 64 year-old woman and a 63 year-old man, both residents of Staten Island, tested positive yesterday for West Nile virus (WNV) at the New York City Department of Health's laboratories. [...] The 64 year-old woman who lives in Great Kills, Staten Island, became ill with symptoms of meningitis on August 4, and was admitted to a local hospital on August 6. The 63 year-old man who lives in Willowbrook, Staten Island, became ill with symptoms of meningitis on July 31, and was admitted to a local hospital on August 5. [...]
"West Nile Virus-Infected Dead Crow Found in Bronx: Dr. Cohen also announced that a dead crow found in the East Tremont section of the Bronx has tested positive for West Nile virus. This represents the first indication of viral activity in the Bronx [...]
"Mosquito Findings in Staten Island and Manhattan: Dr. Cohen also announced that evidence of WNV was confirmed late yesterday by the New York State Department of Health in 14 additional pools of mosquitoes trapped recently in New York City: 13 pools were in Staten Island; 1 was in Manhattan. Each of the mosquito traps was collected prior to the most recent adult mosquito spraying efforts in their area. The mosquitoes were collected from July 25 - July 28 from a total of 13 traps distributed over 9 sites on Staten Island including La Tourette Park, Tottenville, Rossville, Saw Mill Marsh, Fresh Kills, Blue Heron Park, Rossville, Westerleigh and Great Kills Park; and from Central Park in Manhattan on July 28."
The victim from Great Kills resides in southern Staten Island and became ill and went into the hospital during high ozone levels.
The victim from Willowbrook resides more mid-northerly Staten Island, near a conflux of two expressways (MTBE neurotoxin) and went into the hospital during high ozone levels.
See timeline, August 4, 2000.
The New York Times: 8/8/2000
"From mid-August until Labor Day we're going to see this virus amplifying, Dr. Stone said." -- NYT 8/8/00
TO THE CONTRARY
It appears that Ward Stone is not actually a PhD. or medical doctor (http://www.shelterreform.org/DECtoxic.html).
The NYSDEC avian pathologist, Ward B. Stone, is going with his official experience of last year and the official spin (birds began dying in early August), while ignoring his own knowledge of the unpublicized bird deaths beginning in June/July. This spin could give the impression that the epidemic of bird death would peak in September, ending in mid-October. Ward Stone is honest, a fine technician, a fine debater, and a team player. Unfortunately, there is only one team within the orthodox West Nile virus game.
I predict the contrary, by including the unpublicized thousands of bird deaths which began in June, and placing the bird death peak in late July to mid-August. The epidemic peak is over the presence of the virus will diminish from mid-August on out, as the weather gets cooler and ozone lessens.
To my delight, the health department is predicting higher numbers of mosquitoes in the coming weeks, which I predict will inversely correlate with the declining presence of WNV disease.
Due to normal rain this year (2000), as opposed to drought last year (1999), we have many times more mosquitoes than year 1999, few human WNV cases, no encephalitis, and no fatalities.
The New York Times: 8/7/2000
WNV special article -- a front page lead to a 2 page article within.
After 1999 the CDC paid states south of New York, all the way to Texas, to
"...track what was expected to be a kind of rolling wave of dying birds as the annual southward migration took place and the virus tagged along. [para] But no southerly die-off was seen. And since then, the only new discoveries of birds with the virus have come to the north, not the south -- in Syracuse, and just outside of Boston."
Thus, once again, the epidemiological pattern follows not that of an infectious disease, but rather, industrial poisoning via air-toxics. The number of WNV positive birds in Boston and Syracuse is 1 each at this date. Notice the careful phrasing, "come to the north", not "come from the north."
The New York Times: 8/5/2000
The New York Times journalist, Richard Perez-Pena, wrote 8/5/00 on the WNV epidemic:
"This year's outbreak far exceeds the reach of last year's. The virus has been found as far north and east as Boston, in northern New Jersey and in Connecticut. Last year, the outbreak was limited to New York City and its nearest suburbs. [para] So far this year, 123 infected birds have been found in New York State, almost matching last year's total of 130, with nearly 3 months left in the mosquito season."
NYT is clearly stating that in 2000, compared to 1999, the epidemic has spread in quantity and location.
This is NOT TRUE. NYT is grossly misleading. As of of 8/5/00, WNV positives, beyond the immediate New York City region, there was 1 bird in Syracuse, 1 in Boston, and a few in counties near Albany, with most near NYC. Last year (1999) the pattern was similar: 1 WNV positive was found in Ulster and 1 in Columbia counties of New York State (near Albany county), with most in NYC. In year 2000, the bird reporting began May 12th, 3 months earlier than in 1999, when the WNV bird reporting began August 10th. See National Atlas Maps online for year 2000.
Regarding 1999, NYSDEC pathologist, Ward Stone, stated that he inquired about the massive bird deaths in the lower Hudson Valley but received no reply. NYSDOH memo, 9/29/99: "...more than 3,000 were reported to NYSDOH from New York City, Westchester County, and Nassau County... If only half the bird deaths, dead crows, were reported, the mortality rate could have been twice as high."
Essentially, in year 2000, the epidemic has quantitatively shrunk to about 17% of year 1999, and the pattern remains similar. The pattern and quantity are that of air pollution in the tri-state region -- in terms of bird death and human WNV disease.
NYCDOH PR: 8/4/2000
"To date, a total of 32 WNV-infected birds have been identified in New York City (27 in Staten Island, 3 in Queens, and 2 in Manhattan), and WNV has been confirmed in 3 pools of mosquitoes (2 in Staten Island, 1 in Manhattan)." -- NYCDOH PR 8/2/00
"Staten Island Borough President Molinari said, 'The news of a Staten Islander being infected is disappointing but not surprising. Clearly, this (laboratory-positive) case of infection demonstrates that the Department of Health and Mayor Giuliani's office have taken the proper steps in aggressively trying to eliminate the mosquito population at both the larval and adult stages. This issue has been extensively monitored by my office. Our Helpline unit has fielded nearly 1,500 calls, including reports of more than 500 dead birds and over 200 standing water conditions.'" -- NYCDOH PR 8/4/00
On Staten Island, over 500 WNV-negative dead birds were reported, according to the math from Molinari's statement. An inquiry to the NYCDOH press office received the explanation that no one knows or cares how they died, because they weren't WNV positive, that they were just regular dead birds reported because of the publicity. See more recent numbers of 7.7%, statewide.
According to the DEP map below, Southern Staten Island has the highest ozone concentration in the state:
The first human victim (and only victim thus far) was a 78-year old man from southern Staten Island whose previous health status has not been released. He entered the hospital on July 22, 2000, just one day after high levels of industrial ozone hit southern Staten Island. Great variances can occur within the day and location.
AirNow Ozone Map (8-Hour Avg): 7/21/2000 AirNow Ozone Map (1-Hour Avg): 7/21/2000
See timeline, July 21, 2000.