Southwest, Central Kansas At High Risk For West Nile Virus

Jul 23, 2018

Southwest, north-central and south-central Kansas is under a high-risk warning for West Nile virus.

According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, portions of northwest, northeast and southeast Kansas are under a moderate-risk warning for the virus. That is based on historical data involving previous cases.

West Nile virus is spread to people through mosquito bites; it is not spread person to person. The KDHE said one in five people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About one in 150 people infected can develop serious health issues.

Most cases occur in the late summer and early fall. KDHE said there have been no confirmed cases in 2018.

Between 1999 and 2017, KDHE reported more than 600 cases of severe West Nile Virus infections and 30 deaths.

To prevent mosquito bites, the KDHE says:

• Use insect repellent when outdoors.

• Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Wear repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times, or stay indoors.

• The elderly or people with a weakened immune system should limit their exposure outside during dusk and dawn.

•  Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from any source, including flower pots, buckets, bird baths and children's wading pools.

Tom Shine is director of news and public affairs at KMUW, a partner of the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KMUW, Kansas Public Radio, KCUR and HPPR covering health, education and politics. Follow him on Twitter @thomaspshine.

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