Wyoming health officials report their first cases of two important mosquito borne viral diseases–West Nile virus (WNV) and Zika virus.
Wyoming’s first reported West Nile virus case of the year involves a Goshen County adult, according to the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH).
Mosquitos spread West Nile virus (WNV) when they feed on infected birds and then bite people, animals or other birds. “Wyoming residents should remember to take steps to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites,” said Katie Bryan, epidemiologist with WDH.
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.
In addition, health officials have reported the state’s first case of travel-related Zika virus in a Campbell County woman who had recently traveled to a country with known, local Zika transmission and is not pregnant.
Now only Alaska and South Dakota are the only states not reporting a Zika virus case.
“Most states have already reported travel-related Zika illnesses. It is no surprise for this to also happen to someone from Wyoming,” said Dr. Tracy Murphy, state epidemiologist with the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH).
“Folks should consider Zika when planning travel to affected areas, but the discovery of the illness in a Wyoming resident does not mean an increased risk in our state and does not change our recommendations,” Murphy said.
Zika virus is spread to people mostly through bites of certain types of mosquitos not known to be found in Wyoming. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.
Murphy said the biggest concern related to Zika virus is that it can be passed to babies during pregnancy and has strong links to a serious, brain-related birth defect known as microcephaly.