The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has found the presence of the West Nile virus in four Culex mosquito pools. As well, a human case of the West Nile Virus has been reported too in Barton County.

The virus was found specifically in Reno, Shawnee and Johnson Countries. As well, two birds have tested positive for the West Nile Virus in Shawnee County.

West Nile Virus
Health authorities are on alert, and they might expect new cases of WNV. Image credit: The Plain Dealer.

The West Nile Virus cannot be transmitted from person to person

The Culex mosquitos are the species associated with the transmission of the West Nile virus. They are not known to transmit other viruses such as Zika. The WNV is spread to people with infected mosquito bites, though it is not transmitted from person to person, like the flu. Another good news is that people who are infected by the West Nile Virus develop immunity to it.

Symptoms of the WNV are not that bad. They include low-grade fever, body ache, skin rash, and headache. However, there might be complications that can lead to the swelling of the brain tissue, coma, tremors, paralysis and, in some cases, death.

West Nile Virus
Specialists think that rains might have accelerated the apparition of the virus in 2017. The sprout of the West Nile Virus is more common in late summer and early fall rather than now. Image credit: Getty Images.

“Overall, West Nile virus could be underreported,” said Katie Bryan, an epidemiologist at the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH). “We’ve learned testing and reporting is more likely when people are seriously ill.”

One person has already been infected by the West Nile Virus in Kansas

In 2017, the West Nile virus is coming to attack Kansas earlier. Health authorities have already found the virus in mosquito pools across different counties. Now a human case of the West Nile Virus has already been reported in Barton County.

In Kansas, there were 57 cases of the WNV in 2012, which was the highest rate of WNV cases in the state since 2002. Authorities hope that this year won’t surpass that number of cases, given the fact that the spread of the virus started earlier than expected. Last year, 34 cases were recorded in the state. 21 of the patients had to be hospitalized, and five of them died. They think that the virus emerged before it was expected due to the regular rainfalls reported which increases the population of mosquitos.

The health authorities of Kansas are conducting mosquito surveillance. As well, they are testing animals, such as birds, which are not generally tested. In case people see a dead bird, they should wear gloves and put the bird in a plastic bad. Then they should try to close it the best they can and then they should throw it in the garbage. Other counties are already taking preventing measures to stop the spread of the West Nile virus.

“We have started spraying for mosquitoes,” Ford County Administrator J.D. Gilbert said. “So far there are no cases of West Nile in Ford County.”

The KDHE developed a prevention guide for communities and individuals to avoid the West Nile Virus

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment developed a WNV risk level guide that includes prevention tips to protect people and communities. The risk level reports are posted weekly. Three counties have already been classified as areas with high risk of infection.

Pest Control
A pest control agent. Image credit:

The department also recommends people to take the next precaution measures to avoid the virus:

  1. Use a repellent that contains an EPA-registered active ingredient on skin and clothing when going outdoors, including DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535.
  2. As well, people should wear shoes, socks, long-sleeved shirts and long pants that cover the body to the fullest. The color of the clothing should be white or clear to reduce the risks.
  3. Mosquitos might be more alert at dusk and dawn. Therefore, people should be extra protected in that time of the day. Maybe they should consider staying indoors during these hours.
  4. Kids, old people and or those immune-compromised individuals must limit their exposure outside especially during the specific times of the days when the risks are higher.
  5. Put or maintain good screens on windows and doors, to keep mosquitos out of the house.
  6. It is also important to reduce those places that can serve as mosquito breeding sites. People can do that by emptying stagnant water from flower pots and buckets. They should also change the water of their pets with frequency. As well, people should empty children’s wading pools if they are not being used.

People can check the updated weekly reports made by the KDHE here. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has a web page with some useful information about West Nile virus. KDHE Epidemiology Hotline at (877) 427-7317 is also available so citizens can call and ask questions about the virus.

Source: Salina Post