IDPH West Nile prevention poster.

The Iowa Department of Public Health is reminding you to continue to protect yourself against mosquitoes as the rainy weather has kept their populations active.

Deputy State Epidemiologist Ann Garvey says cases of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus are still a concern. “We have had 18 confirmed cases and we’ve got about 16 more that we’re investigating,” according to Garvey. “We have had unfortunately two deaths in Iowa this season and that is an unfortunate reminder that we need to make sure we protect ourselves.”

Doctor Garvey says the easiest way to protect yourself against mosquito bites is with repellents containing DEET. “Make sure you are reading the label instructions carefully, there are sometimes different recommendations for different products,” Garvey says. “Wear long pants and sleeves especially during those peak mosquito times between dusk and dawn.”

Garvey says in most cases West Nile presents no symptoms; about 20 percent of the time people can develop mild, flu like symptoms. In extreme cases, especially in the elderly, the disease can be fatal.
(Thanks to Clay Masters, Iowa Public Radio)