Kansas health officials have issued a high risk warning for West Nile virus infection, affecting half of the state.
According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Northern, South-central ,and Southeast Kansas are at high risk, while Southeast, Northeast, and Northwest Kansas are at moderate risk for West Nile Infection.
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West Nile virus is usually spread to people through mosquito bites, not from person to person. Experts say one in five people who are infected usually develop a fever headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, coma, vision loss, numbness, and paralysis. Around 1 in 150 people infected develop swelling of the brain or brain tissue, in some cases resulting in death.
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Unfortunately, there are no medications or vaccines to treat West Nile, but people who have had the virus before are considered immune. Most WNV infections occur in the late summer and early fall. Although there have been no cases reported in 2018, there have been more than 600 severe cases of West Nile and 30 deaths in Kansas from 1999-2017.
Here are few tips you can do to protect yourself as much as you can.
- When outdoors, use insect repellent EPA-registered active ingredient on clothing and skin, including picaridin, DEET, IR3535 or lemon eucalyptus.
- Usually, mosquitos are more active at dusk or dawn. Use insect repellent, wear long sleeve and pants, or consider staying indoors during these hours.
- If you have a weak immune system, consider limiting your exposure during dusk and dawn.
- Get rid of mosquitoes breeding sites, by emptying stand-in water from buckets and barrels, or flower pots. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in ver baths weekly.
- If you use sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and inspect repellent second.
- If you have children, keep them away from tasing pools empty or on their sides when they aren’t being used.
For more information you an visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention