Iowa Reports First West Nile Death of 2018

Statewide Iowa — The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has announced the first reported death of 2018 associated with the West Nile virus.

IDPH officials say the disease has claimed the life of an elderly adult from Central Iowa.  They say a second case of human West Nile virus infection has also been reported in a Palo Alto County adult male, who has recovered. 

IDPH Deputy Epidemiologist, Dr. Ann Garvey says this death related to West Nile is tragic, and reminds Iowans to protect themselves and their families from mosquitoes. Dr. Garvey says that, 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.

The IDPH recommends you take the following steps to reduce the risk of exposure to West Nile virus:

1)  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.

2)  Avoid outdoor activities at 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. Empty water from buckets, cans, pool covers and pet water dishes. Change water in bird baths every three to four days.

In 2017, 12 Iowans were diagnosed with West Nile virus and two Iowans died. For more information on mosquito and tick transmitted diseases in Iowa, visit

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