West Nile virus may be off to an earlier than usual start in Wyoming this year, with the state’s first case involving a Campbell County adult already reported, the Wyoming Department of Health …
West Nile virus may be off to an earlier than usual start in Wyoming this year, with the state’s first case involving a Campbell County adult already reported, the Wyoming Department of Health said Monday.
“In past years, we typically haven’t seen cases reported until late in July or August,” said Clay Van Houten, Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit manager with the department. “We don’t think this early case necessarily means we’re in for a tough season, but we want people to know they should protect themselves.”
Mosquitoes spread West Nile virus when they feed on infected birds and then bite people, animals or other birds.
“Wyoming residents should take steps to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites,” said Van Houten.
In 2018, the Department of Health was notified of four West Nile virus (WNV) cases in Wyoming, including one death in Goshen County.
Since the disease first reached Wyoming in 2002, the number of reported human cases has varied widely from year to year.
“We expect many people who are ill due to WNV are not getting tested, which makes it difficult to know the true number of cases,” Van Houten said.
Most people infected with the virus don’t have symptoms. Among those who become ill, symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph nodes.
A very small number develop West Nile neuroinvasive disease with symptoms such as severe headache, fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions and paralysis.
The “5 Ds” of West Nile virus prevention include:
1) DAWN and 2) DUSK — Mosquitoes prefer to feed at dawn or dusk, so avoid spending time outside during these times.
3) DRESS — Wear shoes, socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt outdoors. Clothing should be light-colored and made of tightly woven materials.
4) DRAIN — Mosquitoes breed in shallow, stagnant water. Reduce the amount of standing water by draining and/or removing.
5) DEET — Use an insect repellent containing DEET. When using DEET, be sure to read and follow label instructions. Other insect repellents such as Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus can also be effective.
More information about West Nile virus in Wyoming is available at https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/infectious-disease-epidemiology-unit/west-nile-virus/