Health

Iowa records first West Nile virus death of 2018

Victim was an elderly central Iowa adult

Clockwise from top left: The deer tick, which transmits Lyme disease; the American dog tick, which transmits Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia; the Culex pipiens mosquito, which transmits West Nile virus; and the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits Zika, dengue and chikungunya.

MUST CREDIT: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Clockwise from top left: The deer tick, which transmits Lyme disease; the American dog tick, which transmits Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia; the Culex pipiens mosquito, which transmits West Nile virus; and the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits Zika, dengue and chikungunya. MUST CREDIT: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

DES MOINES — Iowa has its first reported death associated with West Nile virus in 2018.

Officials with the Iowa Department of Public Health said Friday the virus claimed the life on an elderly adult from central Iowa. Also, the state agency reported that a second case of human West Nile virus infection has been reported in a Palo Alto County adult male in the age range of 61 to 80 years of age who has recovered.

“West Nile virus is in Iowa,” said department deputy epidemiologist, Dr. Ann Garvey. “This death related to West Nile is tragic and reminds us to protect ourselves and our families from mosquitoes. 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.”

Most people who get the virus don’t show symptoms. About 20 percent of those infected show mild symptoms that include fever, body aches, vomiting and diarrhea, according to the Mayo Clinic. Only about 1 percent of those infected develop severe symptoms that could include disorientation, seizures and partial paralysis.

Iowans should take the following steps to reduce the risk of exposure to West Nile virus: use insect repellent with DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535; avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active; wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, shoes and socks outdoors whenever possible; and eliminate standing water around the home where mosquitoes lay eggs.

Last year, state officials say 12 Iowans were diagnosed with West Nile virus and two Iowans died.

For more information on mosquito and tick transmitted diseases in Iowa, visit this site.

l Comments: (515) 243-7220; rod.boshart@thegazette.com

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