Iowa health officials have reported the first death associated with the mosquito borne viral disease, West Nile virus (WNV) of the year in a middle-age adult (41 to 60 years of age) woman from southwest Iowa.

Image/francok35
Image/francok35

In 2017, seven Iowans have been diagnosed with West Nile virus and three additional cases are under investigation. Last year, there were 37 cases confirmed, including one death.

“This death related to West Nile is tragic and reminds us to protect ourselves and our families from mosquitoes,” said IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. “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.”

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.

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As of September 26, 2017, 1,047 cases of West Nile virus disease in people have been reported to CDC. Of these, 658 (63%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 389 (37%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease. 50 deaths have been reported, including this case.

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