The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced FRiday the first case of West Nile virus infection reported in 2019. The victim is an older male, between 61 and 80 years old, from Audubon County. He has since recovered.
“Humans get infected with West Nile virus through a mosquito bite,” said IDPH Medical Director Dr. Caitlin Pedati. “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 infection.”
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 between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
3. Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, shoes and socks outdoors whenever possible.
4. Eliminate standing water around the home because that’s where mosquitoes lay eggs.
5. Empty water from buckets, cans, pool covers and pet water dishes. Change water in bird baths every three to four days.
In 2018, 104 Iowans were diagnosed with West Nile virus and nine Iowans died. For more information on West Nile virus, visit the Iowa Department of Public Health website.