A potentially deadly virus that’s carried by mosquitoes has been found in two Midwestern states — Michigan and Indiana. Wayne Rowley heads the Iowa program that keeps watch for the West Nile Virus in nine locations statewide. He says new cases are cropping up all around the U-S.Rowley is a medical entomologist at Iowa State University. Special “sentinel” chicken houses are set up around Iowa. Blood samples are taken from the chickens every ten days and tested for West Nile. Rowley says it’s not a matter of -if- it’ll come to Iowa, but when.He says it could be here already, we just haven’t picked it up yet. One good thing — Rowley says Iowa’s mosquito population is very low this summer due to the dry weather. Rowley says mosquitoes usually bite the most in the late afternoon and evening. He says people should avoid going outside during those hours unless they’re wearing insect repellent — especially repellents that contain “Deet.” Rowley says other precautions can be taken such as not leaving standing water in containers.Those sentinel chicken houses are in or near: Des Moines, Dubuque, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Cedar Rapids (2), Waterloo, Ames and Sioux City. Seven people died from West Nile Virus in the New York area in 1999 and there were more than 60 cases of severe illness. It’s especially dangerous for older people and those with weak immune systems.
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