Iowa Reports First West Nile Virus Case

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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The state health department announced the first confirmed human case of West Nile virus disease in Iowa. The case is an adult female in Western Iowa.

For most people, West Nile virus infection causes no symptoms. Approximately 20 percent will have mild to moderate symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches and vomiting. Less than one percent of people infected with West Nile virus become seriously ill and rarely someone dies.

"West Nile virus is a seasonal threat which peaks in late August or early September," said Iowa Department of Public Health Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. "This first case should remind us to take precautions such as using personal protection and making sure mosquitoes can't breed around your home."

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Following the flooding across the state earlier in the summer, there was an increase in the number of so-called "nuisance" mosquitoes. As we move into the later summer months, however, the types of mosquitoes that that can carry West Nile virus and other serious illnesses is increasing. Iowans can protect themselves from all types of mosquitoes by:

* Using insect repellent with DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Check label for correct use.

* Wearing protective clothing, such as long-sleeves, long pants, socks and shoes.

* Eliminating standing water around the home because that's where mosquitoes lay eggs. At least twice a week, empty water from flower pots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels and cans.

* Avoiding being outdoors during peak hours of mosquito activity-dusk and dawn.

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