State officials confirm that the mosquito-borne “West Nile Virus” has made it into Iowa. State Epidemiologist Patricia Quinlisk says two dead birds found in eastern Iowa last week tested positive for the disease. Last September, a bird found dead in Walcott tested positive for West Nile. A crow and a blue jay found dead in Scott County last week tested positive, too. Quinlisk says there’s not a huge threat to humans, but you need to take precautions.The state’s top doctor recommends avoiding the outdoors in the early evening hours, when mosquitoes are most active. She says if you are outside, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, and apply a mosquito-repellant that contains DEET. Quinlisk says you should check around your house and make sure there’s no standing water, the breeding ground for mosquitoes. West Nile is transmitted by a mosquito that has fed on an infected bird. Most people infected with West Nile virus by a mosquito bite do not become sick, but about one percent do become seriously ill. Quinlisk says in rare cases, people have died from West Nile Virus, as was the case in New York in 1999.
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