The Iowa Department of Public Health says the State Hygienic Laboratory has confirmed the cases of West Nile virus in a female child under 17, and an adult male between 41 and 60 years of age. Both Sioux County patients were hospitalized due to the virus, but are now recovering, according to the IDPH.
IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, says West Nile virus season typically lasts from late summer into early autumn. She says these cases serve as a reminder that the West Nile virus is present and it’s important to be using insect repellent when outdoors.
Quinlisk says people should take the following steps to reduce the risk of exposure to West Nile virus:
- Use insect repellent with DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
- 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, DEET should not be used on infants less than 2 months old and oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under 3 years old.
- Avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, shoes, and socks whenever possible outdoors.
- Eliminate standing water around the home because that’s where mosquitoes lay eggs. Empty water from buckets, cans, pool covers and pet water dishes. Change water in bird baths every three to four days.
Quinlisk says approximately 20-percent of people infected with West Nile virus will have mild to moderate symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches and vomiting. Less than one-percent of people infected become seriously ill and rarely, someone dies.
Since West Nile first appeared in Iowa in 2002, it has been found in every county in Iowa, either in humans, horses, or birds. In 2015, 14 cases of West Nile virus were reported to IDPH. The last death caused by West Nile virus was in 2010, and there were two deaths that year. For more information about West Nile virus, visit idph.iowa.gov/cade/disease-information/west-nile-virus.