Wet conditions raise concerns of West Nile - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Wet conditions raise concerns of West Nile

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Wet conditions is raising concerns of West Nile Disease.  The Iowa Department of Public Health says all the rain could increase populations of mosquitos and the diseases they carry, including West Nile.

While West Nile and other mosquito-related diseases are most prevalent in late summer and early fall, officials say it's important to take action now to help control mosquito populations.

While the risk of West Nile virus is similar across age groups, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates older age individuals are at a higher risk for development of more serious central nervous system disease.

"The most effective way to prevent West Nile virus is to stop mosquitoes from breeding and from biting," said IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk.

The state health department has the following recommendations to stop the spread of West Nile.

· Use insect repellent with DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. 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, DEET should not be used on infants less than 2 months old and oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under 3 years old.

· The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many species of mosquitoes. Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing during evening and early morning hours. This is especially important to remember as families are enjoying fireworks in the evening over the Independence Day holiday weekend.

· Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, shoes, and socks whenever possible outdoors.

· 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 bird baths every three to four days.

Since West Nile first appeared in Iowa in 2002, it has been found in every county in Iowa, either in humans, horses, or birds. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 720 total human cases of West Nile virus in the U.S. in 2009, including 32 deaths. There were five cases of West Nile virus, but no deaths in Iowa last year. One death was reported in 2008.

For more information about West Nile virus, visit www.idph.state.ia.us/adper/wnv_surveillance.asp.

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