First human cases of West Nile virus reported in Kansas


Four regions of the state remain under a high-risk warning for WNV, including north central, south central, northwest, and southwest Kansas.

Last week, officials said mosquitoes in Bethany, Franklin, Greenwich, Madison, New Haven, Waterford, West Haven, and Weston tested positive for West Nile virus. About one in five will develop a fever, while roughly one out of 150 infected develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are no vaccines for West Nile and no medical treatments for it, but people who have had the virus before develop immunity to it.

In the meantime, they are reminding people to protect themselves from mosquito bites by using approved insect repellant, wearing light-coloured clothing, and removing standing water.

Blood donations are screened for West Nile prior to distribution, to ensure that the blood supply is safe from the virus. Up to 20 percent of the people who exhibit mild symptoms of West Nile virus have flu-like symptoms and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back.

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Visit the KDHE WNV website weekly to learn about the current WNV risk level.

Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Hot weather is favorable for mosquitoes, shortening the time for them to develop from egg to adult, and small pools of stagnant water provide the ideal habitat for Culex mosquitoes to lay eggs. Turn wading pools upside down when not in use.

Lambton Public Health Supervisor Erin Courtney says test results received Tuesday confirmed the bird was infected. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out.

As of July 24, 39 cases have been reported across the U.S. "Surrounding states are also reporting early WNV activity".