An adult male from Goshen County has been reported to the Wyoming Department of Health as the state’s first human West Nile virus (WNV) case for 2010.
Most people infected with WNV never develop symptoms. Among 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 (i.e. meningitis or encephalitis) with symptoms such as 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.
Mosquitoes spread WNV by feeding on infected birds and then biting people, other birds and animals. Recommended measures for WNV protection 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 when outdoors or when mosquitoes are most active. Clothing should be light-colored and made of tightly woven materials to keep mosquitoes away from the skin.
4) DRAIN - Mosquitos breed in shallow, stagnant water. Reduce the amount of standing water 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 repellents such as Picaridin (KBR 3023) or oil of lemon eucalyptus can also be effective.
Last year in Wyoming there were 12 human WNV cases with 1 death reported. There were 10 human cases with no deaths in 2008; 185 human cases with 2 deaths in 2007; 65 human cases with 2 deaths in 2006; 12 human cases with 2 deaths in 2005; 10 human cases with no deaths in 2004; and 393 human cases with 9 deaths in 2003.
More information about WNV is available online www.badskeeter.org or by calling 1-877-WYO-BITE.