Mosquitos Infected With West Nile Virus Found In Iowa Great Lakes Area

Fri 8-11-2017

            (Spirit Lake)-- Mosquitos carrying West Nile Virus have been found in the Iowa Great Lakes Area. Brandon Rohrig, Dickinson County Public Health Director of Population and Public Health tells KUOO news mosquitos carrying the virus were caught in a live trap at Templar Park on Big Spirit Lake. While most people bitten by an infected mosquito will develop no symptoms at all, a mild disease, known as West Nile Fever occurs in 20 percent of those affected. The onset of symptoms is sudden and includes a rash, nausea, vomiting, eye pain and a headache. Less than one percent of those infected will develop a severe neurological form of the disease such as West Nile encephalitis or meningitis, which can be fatal.

Rohrig says knowing that type of mosquito is present in the area emphasizes the importance of taking the necessary precautions...Mosquitos01 

"Mosquitos that carry West Nile Virus are most active in the evening and they're actually most active coming up here as we go into September and through the end of September. They just keep getting more and more active. The best thing you can do is to wear bug spray. The Iowa Department of Public Health recommends to use one with deet, picardin, IR3535 or oil of lemmon eucalyptus when you're outside. These mosquitos are most active in the evening. And of course if you're at your house, if you have standing water anywhere, really try to keep that moving or try to eliminate it as much as possible as just a little small puddle of standing water can be a breeding ground for mosquitos."

Rohrig says some additional tests are being done on the mosquitos that were trapped in the area...Mosquitos02 

"West Nile Virus mosquitos were found about two to three weeks ago in mosquitos I gathered and we gathered mosquitos all the way through the end of July. They're going to continue to test those and release the findings to me at that point and I will continue to put it out to the public as well."

Rohrig says the mosquito traps were located in four different locations in the Lakes Area during June and July...Mosquitos03 

"There were two located in Templar Park; one was located near McDonalds in Okoboji...that's where there was a lot of the saw-tailed mosquito (which do not carry viruses infectious to humans); and then there was one trap located near the Wal-Mart in Spirit Lake." 

Rohrig says the mosquito trapping and testing program was made possible through a grant between Dickinson County Public Health and Iowa State University.