The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported today a confirmed case of the relatively rare mosquito borne virus, Jamestown Canyon virus (JCV), along with additional West Nile virus cases prompting officials to advise the public to continue to take precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to these diseases.

Iowa Image/National Atlas of the United States
Image/National Atlas of the United States

“It’s important for Iowans to still take measures to protect themselves and their loved ones from mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile virus and JCV,” said IDPH Public Health Veterinarian, Dr. Ann Garvey. “It remains important to eliminate mosquito breeding areas and use insect repellent when outdoors.”

Health officials say only a few cases of JCV are reported to the CDC each year since national reporting began in 2004; however, under-reporting and under-diagnosis are likely since diagnostic testing for JCV is not widely available.

Jamestown Canyon virus (JCV) is a mosquito-borne zoonotic pathogen belonging to the California serogroup of bunyaviruses and is closely related to La Crosse encephalitis virus.

JCV is distributed throughout temperate North America, where it circulates primarily between deer and various mosquito species. Despite its wide geographic range, only 15 human JCV infections were been reported in the United States from 2004 to 2009.

JCV infections initially were described in the early 1970s to cause a mild febrile illness in humans. Severe cases involving the Central Nervous System (CNS) may include meningitis (inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain) or encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).

Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today

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