First ever case of Heartland virus reported in Iowa, first West Nile virus of season reported

Published: Jun. 17, 2020 at 1:20 PM CDT
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - The Iowa Department of Public Health says it has received the first reported case of West Nile Virus this season, and the first ever reported case of Heartland virus in Iowa.

The State Hygienic Laboratory confirmed the West Nile virus case in an adult from Polk County, age 18 to 40.

IDPH says West Nile Virus symptoms include fever, headache, body aches and vomiting. Less than one percent of people infected become serious ill. Rarely does someone die of the virus. And about 20 percent will have mild to moderate symptoms.

The first ever case of Heartland virus was reported in an individual from Appanoose County (61 to 80 years of age) was reported to have the virus.

Heartland virus is a Phlebovirus thought to be transmitted by Lone Star ticks. It was first discovered in Missouri in 2009. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, anorexia, nausea and diarrhea. Treatment is supportive care.

“These reports are an important reminder that as Iowans take advantage of outdoor activities, they should take precautions to prevent tick and mosquito bites,” said IDPH Deputy State Epidemiologist and Public Health Veterinarian, Dr. Ann Garvey.

The IDPH listed the following preventative methods to avoid these illnesses:

  • Use insect repellent with DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Always read the repellent label and consult with a health care provider if you have questions when using these types of products for children. For example, DEET should not be used on infants less than 2 months old and oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under 3 years old.
  • Avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, shoes, and socks whenever possible outdoors.
  • Eliminate standing water around the home because that's where mosquitoes lay eggs. Empty water from buckets, cans, pool covers and pet water dishes. Change water in bird baths every three to four days.
  • Stay on trails when walking or hiking and avoid high grass.
  • After each day spent in tick-infested areas, check yourself, your children, and your pets for ticks. Promptly remove any attached tick. 

For more information about West Nile virus click here.

For more information about Heartland virus click here.

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