Flooding brings on mosquitoes and risk of West Nile - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Flooding brings on mosquitoes and risk of West Nile

WATERLOO (KWWL)---Flash flooding has become common place over the last several days.  And with all the rain we've been getting, mosquitoes are starting to pop up everywhere.

Puddles are everywhere in Waterloo's Hope Martin Park.  And these pools of water are the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.

"If you don't want to be exposed to mosquitoes, limit you activity to times of the day when mosquitoes are not active, and that would be dawn and dusk," said Jon McNamee, program manager for the Black Hawk Co. Health Department.

That caution is important, because with all these mosquitoes comes the risk of West Nile Virus. While the reported cases of the disease have dropped off recently in Iowa, health officials are still concerned about the threat it poses.

"It's not really fizzled out.  West Nile is still out there, and we're very concerned about it.  And we're still monitoring for West Nile Virus activity," McNamee said.

The good news is health officials say the mosquitoes that are forming now in puddles like this, are likely not the breed of the bug that will cause West Nile.

"West Nile is typically carried by culex mosquitoes.  They're very active later in the season.  The mosquitoes we're being bothered with now, and will be for the next couple weeks because of all the flood water around, are aedes.  They're nuisance biters that haven't been shown to carry West Nile Virus," said McNamee.

But it's still good to be cautious in taking steps to not get bitten, like wearing long-sleeves and pants, and using bug spray with DEET.  You should also try to drain any standing water from your property so that mosquitoes don't have a place to nest. 

So far this year, there have been human cases of West Nile in four states.  Symptoms of the virus often mimic the flu.  So if you come up with that kind of illness during the summer, and have been bitten by mosquitoes, it's best to see a doctor to determine if you've got West Nile.  It's also important to note that sometimes you can be exposed to West Nile and not know it.  The disease can  be dormant in your body for quite some time before you show symptoms.  And 80 percent of people infected with the virus never show any symptoms.

KWWL Reporter: Kera Mashek

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