The Iowa Health Department released the latest update today on West Nile Virus cases in Iowa. So far for 2003 we’ve had 128 cases and 4 deaths, compared with 58 cases last year and two deaths. Health Department spokesman Kevin Teale says this is the second year we’ve seen human cases of the disease in Iowa, though in 2001 there was a bird found with the virus in Scott County. The disease tends to peak not long after its first appearance. He says out east, we’ve seen a high number of cases the first year or two and then it drops off dramatically, and since many get immunity when exposed, after a summer or two it’s likely the number of cases will drop off. Though many parts of the state have recorded frost now, there hasn’t been a hard freeze statewide, and Teale cautions the risk of a mosquito bite is still present. He says when you’re out doing fall yard work you’ll still need protection. And that yard work can include some preventive tactics for the next mosquito season, too. As you take screens off for the winter and find holes, fix them and prevent the mosquitoes getting in next year.
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