The heavy rain and flooding much of Iowa’s had in the past few weeks means plenty of stagnant water and a higher mosquito population, which could lead to more cases of West Nile virus. Chuck Cipperly, deputy director of the Siouxland District Health Department in Sioux City, says forecasting West Nile outbreaks is far from an exact science.
Cipperly says, "It all depends on the rainfall. This type of thing is really hard to predict. Most of the mosquitoes after a flood are just nuisance-type mosquitoes. Not every mosquito transmits West Nile virus." When it comes to the spread of West Nile, Cipperly offers a few tips on shielding yourself and your yard.
He says to use a mosquito repellent containing the chemical DEET and make sure there’s no standing water in your yard, including in your rain gutters. Also, change out the water in bird baths. When it comes to entertaining outside, Cipperly says it’s possible an infected pest will make it past your tiki torches to bite someone.
He says it only takes one mosquito that carries the disease to take the party away, though he says most mosquitoes -don’t- carry West Nile. Cipperly says if you’re going to have a back yard party this summer, have some outdoor mosquito repellent on hand.