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First Confirmed Case Of West Nile Virus In Iowa This Year Reported In Linn County

CEDAR RAPIDS (CBS 2/FOX 28) On Wednesday the Linn County Health Department confirmed the first case of West Nile Virus in Iowa.  The department reported that a middle-aged man came down with the virus and is expected to recover.

There were 31 human cases of West Nile in Iowa last year, and only one in Linn County. Yet, with the potential severity of the virus, the Linn County Health Department wants all residents to be aware of the potential problem and take precautions. 

Health officials cautioned the public that standing water is where mosquitos breed. They said they are encouraging people to empty water fountains near their homes, animal’s water dishes when possible and to use bug spray. Officials said the higher the DEET in the bug spray, the better. They also are encouraging people to wear long sleeves and pants while outdoors because mosquitos do not bite through clothing. Bright colors are also less attractive to mosquitos.

Barbara Chadwick, the Clinical Services Manager at Linn County Public Health explained that most people that get West Nile don’t even know it. Only 20 percent will show flu-like symptoms. Less than one percent will get seriously ill. However when folks do get seriously ill, the virus could infect the spinal chord causing meningitis or encephalitis. 

If symptoms don’t clear up or get worse, people are encouraged to visit their doctor. West Nile is detected through a blood test. Physicians will treat the symptoms of headache, an achy body or nausea that come with the virus, but there is not an antibiotic or any specific pill to treat West Nile.

Corridor residents are encouraged to bring bug spray with DEET to all Fireworks shows as mosquitos are most active at dusk and dawn.


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