Plague, Hantavirus, West Nile: How to Avoid Them
The "bugs" of late summer are biting. The nation is having its worst West Nile virus season in a decade, and up to 10,000 people who stayed in California cabins are at risk of hantavirus. A second case of bubonic plague in the West has been confirmed - in a girl in Colorado - and scientists fear that a bumper crop of ticks could spread Lyme disease, the nation's most common bug-borne malady.
Yet the risk of getting these scary-sounding diseases is small. With the right precautions, you can still enjoy spending time outdoors. And that helps fight much more common threats to your health - obesity and too little exercise.
How it's spread: Touching or breathing air particles of urine or droppings from certain types of mice or rats, especially deer mice.
Symptoms: Develop one to six weeks later and can include flulike symptoms that progress into a dry cough, headache, nausea and vomiting, then shortness of breath.
Where it occurs: Anywhere in the U.S.; recent cases were in Yosemite National Park in California.
Prevention: Keep rodents out of your home; carefully clean any nests with disinfectant or bleach and water.
How it's spread: Mosquitoes
Symptoms: Most people have none; some develop flulike symptoms; a very small percentage get neurological symptoms.