Just ahead of the three-day Labor Day weekend, officials with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment have announced that West Nile virus-positive mosquitoes are present in all four counties where mosquito surveillance is performed: Johnson, Shawnee, Sedgwick and Reno.
The virus can be spread through bites from Culex species mosquitoes. It is not contagious from person to person. Symptoms range from a slight headache and low-grade fever to swelling of the brain or brain tissue and, in rare cases, death.
In 2016, there were 37 cases of West Nile virus in Kansas. More than half of these cases were hospitalized, and five cases died.
People who have had West Nile virus before are considered immune. To protect against West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases:
▪ Use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient, like DEET or picaridin.
▪ Use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at peak times or stay indoors during dusk and dawn.
▪ Have good screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
▪ Empty standing water around your home.
Culex mosquitoes are not known to transmit Zika virus.