West Nile Virus Alerts Now In 8 States; Rain, swarms of swarms of heat spurs

Animal and human case reports warned residents in at least eight states of the West Nile virus in the past week. CBS News reports that recent high temperatures and storms have created a “breeding ground” for mosquitoes. Mental health, anxiety, and marijuana use are all in the news too.

Fox News: Several states warn of the risk of the West Nile virus at peak times

At least eight state health officials have warned residents of the risk of the West Nile virus in the past week, while a seasonal peak and cases in humans and animals have been reported, causing death on rare occasions. Health officials in the states of Connecticut, Idaho, Massachusetts, Utah, North Dakota, Louisiana, Delaware, and New Hampshire have released preventive guidelines on West Nile virus, the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . The virus is often transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, with cases typically occurring from summer to autumn. There are no drugs or vaccines for the West Nile virus, and officials say the best way to avoid infection is to prevent mosquito bites. (Rivas, September 13th)

CBS News: Heavy rain and heat reveal billions of mosquitos in US: “Bites a lot”

Brutal temperatures and devastating storms in parts of the United States this summer created a breeding ground for billions of pesky mosquitos. “If the temperatures are in the 90s and we have stagnant water, we are going to breed billions of mosquitoes,” Michael Raupp, an entomologist and professor emeritus at the University of Maryland, told CBSN AM on Monday. “There will be a lot of bites.” (Sunday, September 13th)

In other public health news –

ABC News: Young people are experiencing “widespread” psychological distress over the government’s handling of the looming climate crisis, researchers say

Children and youth around the world are experiencing growing concerns about the fate of the planet – particularly climate change and how lawmakers are dealing with the looming crisis, according to a new study. Scientists who surveyed 10,000 young people aged 16 to 25 in 10 countries found them to have “widespread psychological distress” and found, for the first time, that anxiety is significantly related to perceived inactivity, according to a study published on Tuesday Government related in Lancet Planetary Health. (Jakobo, September 14th)

The Oregonian: College student marijuana use hit record highs in 2020 while alcohol use fell, a study says

College is an experience where young adults can find themselves as adults. This not only includes training and professional experience for a successful career start, but also independent thinking and decision-making. College is also a series of experiences with fun, adventure, freedom and, for many, even partying. Hopefully, enter drinking responsibly. Although drinking was reportedly not a top priority for college students in 2020. Instead, cannabis use rose to a record high, according to a new study entitled “Monitoring the Future”. (Dalton, September 13th)

Fox News: Exercise Reduces Long-Term Risk of Anxiety Disorders in Men and Women, Study Finds

A physically active lifestyle was linked to a 62% lower risk of diagnosing anxiety disorders in men and women in a study of the largest population to date, the researchers said. While exercise is known to lower the risk of disease, increase aerobic fitness, and improve sleep, cognition, and mental health, among other things, the researchers in the present study said that exercise intensity, dose, and fitness level affected the development of anxiety disorders otherwise unknown. The results, published September 10 in Frontiers in Psychiatry magazine, were compared to comparable non-skiers of 197,685 skiers participating in a long-distance cross-country ski race, Vasaloppet. (Rivas, September 13th)

The Washington Post: Four Smart Ways to Keep Your Brain in Top Shape

The isolation and inactivity of the pandemic took psychological tolls on some people, both those with dementia and those with healthy brains. “We saw a significant decrease in people who already had dementia, but the effects were felt in otherwise healthy elderly people with no pre-existing cognitive problems,” says dementia specialist Joel Salinas of NYU Grossman School of Medicine in New York. However, as social activity increases, many seniors – including some with cognitive problems – report improvements in memory and thinking, he adds. And you can do a lot in your own life to see similar improvements, he and other experts say. (Levine, September 13th)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a round-up of health coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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