TOPEKA, Kansas – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has documented a substantial increase in the number of mosquitoes within the past week, including the type of mosquitoes that can potentially spread West Nile virus. KDHE conducts targeted mosquito surveillance in Sedgwick County and uses the information to assess the potential for West Nile virus transmission statewide.
“Although the increase in mosquitoes after the substantial rain we have had is not unexpected,” said Dr. Ingrid Garrison, State Public Health Veterinarian, “we want to remind everyone to take steps to prevent mosquito bites that can transmit West Nile virus.”
In 2014, there were 54 cases of West Nile virus in Kansas. There are currently no reported cases of West Nile virus in 2015.
Symptoms of West Nile virus infection range from a slight headache and low-grade fever to swelling of the brain or brain tissue and, in rare cases, death. People who have had West Nile virus before are considered immune.
KDHE recommends the following precautions to protect against West Nile virus:
- When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient on skin and clothing, including DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. Follow the directions on the package.
- Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.
- Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.
- Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in outdoor pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths twice weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children’s wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren’t being used.
Additional information about West Nile Virus and preventing mosquito bites is available by clicking here.