Reno County Health Department working to prevent Zika and West Nile Virus

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HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) – Mosquito season has begun and the recent rain has created more breeding grounds. 

The Reno County Health Department began working with Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Kansas Biological Survey to trap and actively monitor the mosquito population across the county from May to October.  Mosquitoes can spread diseases like West Nile virus and Zika to humans.

The Culex mosquitoes have been found in the traps and are known to transmit West Nile virus. Most people with West Nile virus infection do not have any symptoms. Mild symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea and vomiting can occur. Less than 1 % of people develop severe illness that may require hospitalization. Severe symptoms include neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, muscle weakness, numbness, paralysis and even coma or death. If you develop severe symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Zika Aides mosquitoes have also been found in traps and are known to transmit the Zika virus. Common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, headache, joint pain, red eyes, and muscle pain. Symptoms can last for several days to a week.  Zika during pregnancy can cause birth defects, miscarriage, stillbirth, and other defects. If you develop symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Follow the three Ds: drain, dress and DEET.

Drain:  Eliminate standing water, where mosquitoes breed. Rainwater and sprinklers can create pools of standing water in places like birdbaths, clogged gutters, empty pots, pet dishes, on top of tarps, and in tire swings.  Empty the water or replace it every couple of days as needed. If standing water cannot be drained, apply larvacide dunks that can be purchased at area garden stores.

Dress: Cover your skin with clothing when you are outdoors, especially during the dawn and dusk hours; wear long sleeves, pants, socks and shoes that cover your feet.

DEET: Use insect repellent that contains DEET or other EPA-approved products.  Follow label instructions and avoid over-application.

Test results from the collected mosquitoes will be available on KDHE’s Arboviral Disease Surveillance in Kansas website and on the Reno County Health Dept/Community Health/Environmental Health/ Mosquito website page. 

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