Just because it’s been dry this year, doesn’t mean we don’t have a mosquito problem. Five cases of West Nile virus, a mosquito-borne illness, have been confirmed in the state by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and several more are under investigation.
The West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes that feed on infected birds. Some people who are infected will not notice it or may develop mild symptoms like fever and a headache. For others, the disease can be deadly.
For the past several weeks, the Johnston Public Works Department has worked proactively to prevent the West Nile virus from spreading and causing illness in our city. The Public Works Department has been fogging (ground spraying) to kill the adult mosquitoes and treating ponds and other standing water with larvacide to kill mosquito larvae.
Johnston residents can take steps too to protect themselves from illnesses caused by mosquitoes and other insects. IDPH Medical Director and Johnston resident, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, is urging Iowans to use insect repellant with DEET while outdoors to protect against mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus, and against ticks that transmit Lyme disease.
Dr. Quinlisk also reminds us to look for standing water around our homes that may serve as mosquito breeding sites. Eliminate water standing in buckets, wading pools and pet dishes. Change the water in bird baths weekly.
For more information about West Nile virus and Lyme disease, visit the Iowa Department of Public Health’s website at: www.idph.state.ia.us.