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West Nile virus returns to Iowa

(Radio Iowa) – The Iowa Department of Public Health is confirming the first human case of West Nile virus in the state this year.

“The person who become ill is a middle-aged male in Linn County,” State Medical Director Doctor Patricia Quinlisk says. “Fortunately, he is recovering. We do know that there are some people who can become very sick with this and unfortunately in the past we have had some deaths. So, we want everybody to take precautions, especially since we’re going into a holiday weekend.”

West Nile is transmitted through mosquito bites. The disease was first detected in Iowa in 2002. Last year, there were 31 confirmed human cases in the state. “One thing we know is this disease is influenced by weather and certainly influenced by how many mosquitoes are out there and how many of them are biting us,” Quinlisk says.

Symptoms of West Nile include fever, headaches, body aches, and vomiting. Quinlisk says the best way to prevent the virus is to eliminate mosquito breeding areas and to use insect repellent when outdoors.