West Nile Virus Worries Linger in Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa - This is normally the peak time of year for mosquitoes, and federal health experts are warning that cases of West Nile Virus are on the rise.
Over the weekend, an Illinois man died from the mosquito-borne virus. That makes at least 26 deaths this year.
Birds carry West Nile Virus and transmit it to humans through mosquitoes. It can cause serious problems, especially in people who have weak immune systems. It's particularly bad in Dallas County, Texas, where the disease has killed at least nine people.
So far, more than 80 percent of the cases are concentrated in six states - none of them in Iowa. Three human cases have been reported in Iowa this year compared to nine cases resulting in two deaths last year. So, why the decrease? Our hot, dry summer has helped, but the state health officials warn Iowans should still be cautious.
Iowans in three counties have been treated for West Nile Virus this year, the closest to eastern Iowa being Grundy County. However, two horses from Johnson County have tested positive for the virus.
Lyme disease is on the rise in Iowa. So far this year, Iowa has had 108 cases of Lyme disease, compared to 87 at this time last year.
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