4 cases of West Nile Virus reported in Shawnee County

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – West Nile Virus has hit Shawnee County, and more people are diagnosed this year than all of last year.

The health department said there have been four cases of West Nile in Shawnee County this year, compared to three in 2016.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), West Nile is most commonly spread to people by mosquito bites. Cases of the virus are most common in the summer and fall during mosquito season. Most people infected with the virus to not have symptoms. According to the health department, about 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever and can develop headaches, body aces, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash.  Symptoms of severe disease include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.  About one in 150 people can develop severe disease. People older than 60 years old or with certain underlying medical conditions are at a greater risk for severe disease.

There is no vaccination against West Nile Virus. To prevent mosquito bites, the health department says to:

  • Use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved insect repellent

  • Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants

  • Stay inside

  • Limit your time outside at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active

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