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Iowa West Nile virus case reported in Buena Vista County – Des Moines Register

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The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services Friday announced the first case of West Nile virus infection reported in the state so far this year. 
The virus was detected in a middle age adult between the ages of 41 and 60 from Buena Vista County and confirmed through a test at the State Hygienic Lab, a news release from HHS said. 
The CDC previously reported one presumed case of the virus this year in Iowa in a person who was not exhibiting symptoms but whose blood tested positive for the virus after a blood donation. 
The detection of West Nile virus around this time of year is “pretty normal,” according to Dr. Ryan Smith, an associate professor in the Department of Entomology at Iowa State University who oversees the university’s mosquito surveillance program.
“West Nile virus is endemic, meaning that year in and year out, we will always see some kind of West Nile virus transmission,” he said. 
More:West Nile virus-positive mosquitos detected in Des Moines. Here’s how to protect yourself.
Based on data collected from seven counties around Iowa, Smith said he does not predict a large outbreak of cases this year. 
Cases of West Nile virus in Iowa last spiked in 2018, when 104 Iowans contracted the virus, severely sickening 73 and killing three. Since then, case numbers have been in the single digits, according to the CDC. 
“In 2021, 6 Iowans were diagnosed with West Nile virus, with zero deaths,” the Iowa health department said in a news release Friday.
In late August, the city of Des Moines conducted a citywide mosquito control treatment after detecting West Nile virus-positive mosquitos. 
The treatment was conducted by Clarke, a mosquito control company contracted by the city. They used truck-mounted spray machines to reduce the local adult mosquito population, according to a news release from the city. City spokesperson Al Setka said the spray poses no danger to the environment or humans. 
“We worked quickly to put together a plan to address the mosquito population effectively and safely throughout the city,” Deputy Director of Neighborhood Services SuAnn Donovan said.
More:First Iowa outbreak of deadly rabbit disease detected in Story County
About one in five people infected with West Nile virus develop symptoms including headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash, according to the CDC. However, nearly 80% of those infected with the virus do not develop any symptoms. 
In rare cases, West Nile virus can cause inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, leading to severe symptoms such as paralysis, tremors, disorientation, and in even rarer cases, death, according to the CDC. 
While there is no vaccine against West Nile virus, officials say there are actions people can take to protect themselves from contracting the virus. 
The Iowa Department of Public Health recommends people take the following steps: 
More:Iowa introduces new Health and Human Services agency, but merger is still far from over
Francesca Block is a breaking news reporter at the Des Moines Register. Reach her at FBlock@registermedia.com or on Twitter at @francescablock3.

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