Iowa’s First West Nile Virus Infection of the Year in Plymouth County

Plymouth County, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services has announced the first case of a West Nile virus infection in 2023.  The infected individual is an older adult (61-80 years) from Plymouth County, and was confirmed through a test at the State Hygienic Lab.

Warm summer weather means Iowans are spending more time outside which increases the risk of mosquito bites, which are the primary method in which humans are infected with the virus.

For the best protection against the virus, Iowans should use an insect repellant with DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, Para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone or IR3535. Insect repellent lowers the risk of mosquito bites.

Always read and follow label directions. Consult with a health care provider if you have questions when using these types of products on children.

Oil of lemon eucalyptus and Para-menthane-diol should not be used on children younger than 3 years, and DEET should not be used on infants younger than 2 months.

If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.

Additional steps Iowans can take to protect themselves include:
If possible, avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, shoes and socks outdoors.
Clear standing water from around your home where mosquitos reproduce.
Look for standing water in buckets, cans, pool covers, used tires, pet water dishes, and other areas water may collect.

Iowans infected with WNV may not experience any signs or symptoms of the virus. Some people experience minor symptoms like fever and mild headache. Others, however, can develop serious symptoms such as a high fever, headache, disorientation and muscle weakness.

People who experience mild signs and symptoms of a WNV infection generally recover on their own. But illness that includes a severe headache, disorientation or sudden weakness require immediate medical attention.

In 2022, nine Iowans were diagnosed with West Nile virus, with zero deaths.

Story courtesy of our Community First sister station KSOU.