West Nile virus has returned to Wyoming with the season’s first case, involving a Sheridan County resident, being reported to the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH).
“We want to remind residents to take steps to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites,” said Katie Bryan, epidemiologist with WDH. Mosquitos spread West Nile virus (WNV) when they feed on infected birds and then bite people, animals and other birds.
The “5 D’s” of West Nile virus prevention include:
1) DAWN and 2) DUSK – Mosquitos prefer to feed at dawn or dusk, so avoid spending time outside during these times.
3) DRESS – Wear shoes, socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt outdoors. Clothing should be light-colored and made of tightly woven materials.
4) DRAIN – Mosquitos breed in shallow, stagnant water. Reduce the amount of standing water by draining and/or removing.
5) DEET – Use an insect repellent containing DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide). When using DEET, be sure to read and follow label instructions. Other insect repellents such as Picaridin (KBR 3023) or oil of lemon eucalyptus can also be effective.
Bryan said at least two states surrounding Wyoming have also had confirmed West Nile virus cases so far this season.
In Wyoming last year, five human WNV cases were reported. Since WNV first appeared in Wyoming in 2002, reported human cases within a year have ranged from two with no deaths to 393 and nine deaths.
Most people infected with WNV don’t have symptoms. Among those who become ill, symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph nodes. A very small number develop West Nile neuroinvasive disease with symptoms such as severe headache, fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions and paralysis.
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