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Wyoming’s First Case of West Nile Virus Reported

The Wyoming Department of Health has announced the states first case of West Nile Virus for 2011. An adult male from Goshen County is the state’s first reported human to be infected with West Nile virus or WNV.

Dr. Tracey Murphy, state epidemiologist said “We can’t consistently predict what may happen with West Nile virus from year to year.” He also said “many factors affect the transmission of the disease.” Murphy also is the acting state health officer with the Wyoming Department of Health.

Dr. Murphy noted Wyoming has had human WNV cases reported as early as May and as late as October. Late summer and early fall are typically when WNV cases are reported. It remains important for people to use caution when outdoors.

A majority of the time people who become infected with WNV never develop symptoms.  For those who become ill, symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph nodes.  A very small percentage of infected persons develop West Nile neuroinvasive disease otherwise known as meningitis or encephalitis. Those symptoms include severe headache, fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions and paralysis.

The Wyoming Public Health Laboratory offers free WNV testing for healthcare providers with suspected cases in their patients. They have come out with five steps to prevent WNV. They call it the 5 D’s of WNV Prevention.

The 5 D’s of WNV prevention include:

1) DAWN and 2) DUSK – Most mosquito species 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 or when mosquitoes are most active. Clothing should be light-colored and made of tightly woven material.

4) DRAIN – Mosquitoes breed in shallow, stagnant water. Reduce the amount of standing water  around homes by draining and/or removing it.

5) DEET – Use an insect repellent containing DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide). When using DEET, be sure to read and follow the label instructions. Other insect repellents such as Picaridin (KBR 3023) or oil of lemon eucalyptus can also be effective.

Last year Wyoming had 6 human cases and fortunately no deaths were reported. In 2009, there were 12 human cases with 1 death and 10 human cases with no deaths were reported in 2008.

You can obtain more information about WNV at www.badskeeter.org or by calling 1-877-WYO-BITE.

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