DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced the first case of West Nile virus infection reported in 2021, an older adult (aged 61 years to 80 years) from Montgomery County. The case was confirmed through a test at the State Hygienic Lab.
“Humans get infected with West Nile virus through a mosquito bite and being outside means there’s a risk for West Nile virus infection. But we have easily accessible preventive tools like insect repellent, that can help keep Iowans safe from mosquito bites, which lowers the risk of West Nile infection” said IDPH Medical Director & State Epidemiologist Dr. Caitlin Pedati.
With Memorial Day and summer activities on the horizon, IDPH reminds all Iowans to take the following steps to reduce the risk of exposure to the West Nile virus:
- Use insect repellent with DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535.
- Always read the repellent label and consult with a health care provider if you have questions when using these types of products for children.
- For example, oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under 3 years of age and DEET should not be used on children less than 2 months of age.
- If possible, avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, shoes, and socks outdoors whenever possible.
- Eliminate standing water around the home because that’s where mosquitoes lay eggs. Empty water from buckets, cans, pool covers, and pet water dishes. Change water in birdbaths every three to four days.
In 2020, three Iowans were diagnosed with the West Nile virus, with zero deaths. For more information on the West Nile virus, click here.