Half of Kansas at high risk for West Nile virus

Half of Kansas at high risk for West Nile virus

A person living in southeastern North Carolina died last week from a West Nile virus infection, according to state health officials. To protect patient confidentiality, the department is not releasing additional details.

Elk Grove, the Pocket and communities south of Fruitridge Road are scheduled for aerial insectide sprayings as part of the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District's plan to reduce the risk posed by West Nile virus.

"These infections are rare, but this is a tragic reminder that they can be fatal", said State Public Health Veterinarian Carl Williams.

Bosch says wear long sleeves if you can when outdoors, use mosquito repellent and avoid being outdoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.

This is the state's first confirmed death this year from the mosquito-borne illness. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash.

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The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said north-central, south-central, and southwest Kansas at at high risk, while northeast, southeast, and northwest Kansas are at moderate risk for West Nile infections. Other mosquito-borne viruses transmitted in the state that cause human illness include LaCrosse and Eastern equine encephalitis viruses.

West Nile virus can be spread to people through mosquito bites, but it is not spread from person to person.

Use an EPA-registered mosquito repellent and apply according the manufacturer's instructions. Although there have been no cases reported to the KDHE in 2018, there have been more than 600 cases of the most severe form of WNV and 30 deaths in Kansas from 1999-2017.

Install or fix screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes outside, and if possible, use air conditioning.

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