Take Precautions Against West Nile Virus
Written by Andrew-Rossi on June 13, 2017
West Nile virus remains a persistent, potentially serious threat for residents during the summer months, according to the Wyoming Department of Health.
Since West Nile first appeared in Wyoming in 2002, reported human cases each year have ranged from two diagnoses with no deaths in one year; to 393 cases and nine deaths in another. Last year, 10 cases were reported to the Health Department. Of the reported cases, seven involved people with neuroinvasive disease.
Locally, Big Horn and Park Counties haven’t seen any cases since 2013, when there were 3 cases in Park County and 1 in Big Horn County. Park County Public Health Director Bill Crampton says that while some people may be diagnosed locally, it’s rare to have a case in which someone was bitten by a mosquito here and contract the virus.
Katie Bryan, a WDH epidemiologist, said mosquitos spread West Nile virus when they feed on infected birds and then bite people, animals and other birds, and says most people infected don’t realize it’s happened until they experience symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph nodes.
The Health Department points out that avoiding mosquito bites is key with West Nile virus, so residents are encouraged to avoid spending time outside during dawn and dusk, when mosquito activity is highest; wear shoes, socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt outdoors; reduce the amount of standing water near your residence so as not to attract mosquitos; and use an insect repellent containing DEET.