The state Health Department says a man in Marion County in central Iowa and a blood donor in eastern Iowa have each tested positive for the West Nile Virus. Birds in four Iowa counties had already tested positive for the virus. State Epidemiologist Patricia Quinlisk says all the positives should be a signal to practice prevention.
Quinlisk says this means that everywhere in Iowa you’re at risk of getting West Nile if you don’t wear insect repellent. Doctor Quinlisk says West Nile has become a standard part of the summer the last several years, and its appearance is based on several factors. She says the weather, birds migrating, and the amount of water for the mosquitoes to breed. Quinlisk says the late summer and early fall are the peak times for the disease.
Quinlisk says West Nile has dropped in severity — but that’s not a reason to ignore it. Quinlisk says some states now have very little activity, and she expects that Iowa will see fewer West Nile cases. But Quinlisk cautions that the disease is still around and it’s simple to take the precautions to avoid getting West Nile, “So why not do it?” Two people died from West Nile in Iowa last year, and that’s why Quinlisk says it can’t be dismissed.
Quinlisk says the elderly are at the highest risk of getting severely ill and dieing, but she says babies have also died too. She says the bottom line is to take the precautions so you don’t get bitten and get the disease. Quinlisk says use insect repellent when going outside, avoid being outside in the early morning and evening hours when mosquitoes are most active, and get rid of standing water that can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.