Southwest Kansas at moderate/high risk for West Nile Virus

Steven Rains - July 25, 2019 1:52 pm

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has issued a high risk warning for West Nile virus infections (WNV) for northwest, south central and southeast Kansas. North central, northeast, and southwest Kansas are at moderate risk for WNV infections. In addition, mosquitoes collected in Sedgwick County have tested positive for WNV and St. Louis Encephalitis virus (SLEV).

WNV can be spread to people through mosquito bites, but it is not spread from person to person. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. About 1 out of 150 infected people develop a severe illness leading to swelling of the brain or brain tissue that can result in death. There are no vaccines or medications to treat WNV. People who have had WNV before are considered immune.

SLEV is transmitted by the same type of mosquito that spreads WNV. While most people who are infected with SLEV have no symptoms or only mild non-specific flu-like illness, some individuals can experience serious neuroinvasive illness. Symptoms often include fever, headache, stiff neck, disorientation, and altered level of consciousness. Coma, convulsions, and paralysis may also occur. SLEV has a similar incubation period as WNV, 5-15 days.

KDHE recommends knowing your risk of WNV and take action to prevent mosquito bites and protect yourself against WNV and SLEV:

 

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