As we head into fall, Dodge City residents may be concerned about West Nile virus. Here is some information that may help you stay clear of catching it.
According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, West Nile virus is spread through bites from infected mosquitoes. It is not contagious between people. Symptoms can include a slight headache and low-grade fever, or swelling of the brain or brain tissue and, in rare cases, death. Those who have had the virus before are considered immune.
Residents can take the following precautions against West Nile virus, as recommended by the KDHE.
- When outdoors, use insect repellant containing an EPA-registered active ingredient on skin and clothing. This includes DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus and IR3535.
- Since many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn, use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants or consider staying indoors during these hours.
- Keep good screens on your windows and doors.
- Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from buckets, barrels and flower pots. Change water in pet dishes and replace water in bird baths every week. Drill holes in tires swings so water drains out. Keep children's wading pools empty and on their sides when not in use.
West Nile virus is most common in the late summer and early fall months. There were 57 cases of the virus in Kansas in 2012, the most since it first hit the state in 2002.
For additional information about West Nile virus, visit http://www.cdc.gov/features/StopMosquitoes.