West Nile Virus cases are increasing across the U.S. in areas that are stricken by both severe drought and flooding. Mosquitoes transmit the potentially deadly virus to humans.
According to the North Platte Telegraph, a Nebraska news publication, recent flooding in the region is posing a threat of West Nile Virus. Stagnant pools of water left behind in North Platte, Nebraska, are potential breeding grounds for the types of mosquitoes known to carry the disease. Eggs can remain in cooler temperatures for years, waiting for the right climate to hatch.
Mosquito eggs hatch when the weather is warm and humid. The North Platte Telegraph reports that a hatchling can become an adult within 10 days. For areas such as Nebraska, this can create a rapid increased risk of West Nile Virus, given the vast amount of dormant eggs in recent flooded areas.
Heat is also partly to blame for a surge in West Nile Virus in other parts of the country. Drought-stricken Houston has seen three times as many cases of the virus in mosquitoes compared to last year, reports ABC News.
A record number of birds are seeking water in Houston amid the dry conditions. ABC News explains that the birds can carry the virus, and then transmit it to mosquitoes. An infected mosquito can then pass on the virus by biting humans.