West Nile Virus Claims Life Of Northwest Iowan

mosquito - from IDPH web siteNorthwest Iowa — The Iowa Department of Public Health has confirmed the death of an elderly northwest Iowa resident from the West Nile Virus.

Doctor Patricia Quinlisk, the department’s medical director, says this is the first West Nile death in the state since 2010, and it comes as cases have spiked up.

Quinlisk says the identity of person who died is kept confidential, but it is someone who is more than 80 years old.

But Doctor Quinlisk says you shouldn’t be fooled into thinking your age will keep you from getting West Nile

She says the increase in West Nile cases this year is due in part to better weather which leads to more exposure to mosquitoes who carry the virus.

Quinlisk says Iowans taking advantage of the warmer fall weather by spending more time outdoors, but they don’t take the precautions they’d take in summer.

She says there’s been some light frost already in parts of the state and that may have lulled people into thinking the mosquitoes threat is over. That’s not the case.

Until that hard frost hits, Quinlisk advises you to use insect repellent with DEET, picaridin, I-R-3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus when going outside. Always read the repellent label and consult with a health care provider if you have questions when using these types of products for children. Since West Nile first appeared in Iowa in 2002, it has been found in every county in Iowa, either in humans, horses, or birds. The last death caused by West Nile virus was in 2010, and there were two deaths that year.