Iowa health officials reported Friday on the first human West Nile virus (WNV) death in the state in 2018.  The fatality was in an elderly adult from Central Iowa.

Image/francok35
Image/francok35

In addition, a second case of human WNV infection has also been reported in a Palo Alto County adult male who has recovered.

“West Nile virus is in Iowa,” said IDPH Deputy Epidemiologist, Dr. Ann Garvey. “This death related to West Nile is tragic and reminds us to protect ourselves and our families from mosquitoes. Until the state’s first hard frost, whether it’s for work or play, being outside means there’s a risk for West Nile virus.”

In 2017, 12 Iowans were diagnosed with West Nile virus and two Iowans died.

Iowans should take the following steps to reduce the risk of exposure to West Nile virus:

  • Use insect repellent with DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. Always read the repellent label and consult with a health care provider if you have questions when using these types of products for children. For example, oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under 3 years of age and DEET should not be used on children less than 2 months of age.
  • Avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, shoes and socks outdoors whenever possible.
  • Eliminate standing water around the home because that’s where mosquitoes lay eggs. Empty water from buckets, cans, pool covers and pet water dishes. Change water in bird baths every three to four days.