The Department says the case is an adult male from Clay County who is recovering from the disease. Iowa Department of Public Health Medical Director Dr. Patricia Quinlisk says this case should serve as notice that the virus is out there, and that Iowans should take precautions.
West Nile is transmitted through mosquitoes, Quinlisk says, and the best way to prevent the virus is to eliminate mosquito breeding areas, and to use insect repellent when outdoors. She says Iowans can take several steps to reduce the risk of exposure to West Nile Virus. Among these is the use of insect repellent with DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus. She says you should always read the label, and consult a health care professional if you have questions when using these products. Avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. Wear long sleeved shirts, pants, shoes, and socks whenever possible outdoors, and eliminate standing water around your home because that’s where mosquitoes lay their eggs.
Recent heavy rains and flooding in Iowa could lead to an increased number of mosquitoes this summer, but according to Quinlisk, these “flood mosquitoes” rarely carry the West Nile Virus. Therefore, she says, heavy rains and flooding don’t necessarily result in increased West Nile cases. She says mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus tend to lay eggs in stagnant water. She says that’s why it’s important to eliminate standing water from your property.