Wyoming’s first reported West Nile virus case for 2018 involves a Fremont County adult, according to the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH).
Mosquitos spread West Nile virus (WNV) when they feed on infected birds and then bite people, animals or other birds.
“Wyoming residents should remember to take steps to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH.
Most people infected with WNV 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.
Since WNV first appeared in Wyoming in 2002 the number of reported human cases has varied widely from year to year. “It’s possible that many people who are ill due to WNV are not getting tested for the disease, which affects reporting and makes it difficult for us to know the true number of cases,” Harrist said.
The “5 D’s” of West Nile virus prevention include:
1) DAWN and 2) DUSK – Mosquitos 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 – Mosquitos breed in shallow, stagnant water. Reduce the amount of standing water by draining and/or removing.
5) DEET – Use an insect repellent containing DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide). When using DEET, be sure to read and follow label instructions. Other insect repellents such as Picaridin (KBR 3023) or oil of lemon eucalyptus can also be effective.