With record rainfalls falling over the past week, county Health Departments across the state are warning citizens of the increased risk of West Nile Virus being spread by infected mosquitos.
There are less than ten reported cases found so far across the tri-state area this year. State health officials said there were 57 reported cases of West Nile virus in Kansas in 2012, the most since the virus was first discovered in the state.
“My concern is with the recent rainfall there is standing water, and combined with the warm temperatures is an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes,” Sherman County Health Department administrator Donna Terry said.
Terry said that West Nile symptoms can range from headaches to seizures. The scariest part about this silent disease, thought, is that four out of five people who become infected do not develop any physical symptoms.
“Those who do develop symptoms complain of fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash,” she said. “However West Nile symptoms can be severe in some people and they will develop a serious neurologic illness which can include disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures or paralysis.”
In August, health officials reported a Sedgwick County resident died from West Nile virus.
Terry said, “The best defense citizens from mosquito bites is by wearing clothing that covers the skin and applying an insect repellent containing DEET especially during the early morning and evening hours. Also it is important that we drain any sources of standing water such as old tires, flower pots, kids toys, to eliminate breed grounds.”
If you suspect you may have West Nile virus, see your health care provider immediately.
–This story was written and compiled by Beau Tiongson