Iowa Reports First West Nile Death of 2018

West Nile virus Italy and a mosquito

The first reported human case coincides with a large increase in West Nile-infected mosquitoes across the county, which has occurred earlier this summer compared with previous years, officials said.

According to the Department of Public Health and Environment, the Mead resident became ill on July 27 and was hospitalized the next day.

So far, as of August 2nd, 2018, 19 mosquitoes have tested positive for the West Nile Virus across the municipalities of Cressona, Hegins Township, Mahanoy Township, City of Pottsville, Ringtown, Schuylkill Haven, and West Mahanoy Township. There is no vaccine or cure for West Nile and about 1 in 150 people infected develop serious illnesses that can affect the central nervous system.

It's an especially important job this year because the Department of Environmental Protection is reporting the highest levels of West Nile in the mosquito population since the virus first appeared in the state.

In 2017, 12 Iowans were diagnosed with West Nile virus and two Iowans died. Philadelphia, Lancaster County, York County and Chester County are driving the trend, said Matt Helwig, the West Nile Program specialist at the DEP.

No human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in the metro so far this year. When the numbers of these insects are high, the more the residents are at risk of contracting the virus. Symptoms can include muscle aches, headache and fever. Eliminate or drain all sources of standing water on your property, including flower pots, old vehicle tires, rain gutters and pet bowls.

Empty and clean every place that has or could collect water, even the birth baths, and clear the yard of all items that can collect rainwater to get rid of all standing water.

Limit outdoor activities and take precautions to prevent mosquito bites during these times.

DUSK and DAWN are when mosquitoes are most active. Do not spray repellent on the skin under your clothing. It's also a good idea to wear long sleeves or trousers when outside.

Repellants using DEET are among the most effective.

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