Arboviral Disease Surveillance in Kansas
Arboviral diseases are those that are passed from arthropods, such as mosquitoes and ticks to humans. Many of these diseases are reportable, when diagnosed in people, to KDHE. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment conducts limited mosquito surveillance, in cooperation with state partners, from June – September. The mosquitoes are tested for West Nile virus (WNV) at the Kansas Health and Environmental Laboratories (KHEL).
Since West Nile virus first emerged in Kansas during 2002, Sedgwick County has historically had the most human cases of any county in our state. Therefore we have concentrated our mosquito surveillance efforts in Sedgwick County. We use this data as a proxy for mosquito activity for the entire state.
- Use insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin on skin. Follow label directions.
- Empty standing water from tarps, old tires, buckets and other places where rainwater is trapped. Use larvicide in low-lying areas where water cannot be removed. Refresh water for bird baths, pet bowls and wading pools at least every three days.
- Limit outdoor activities at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
- Wear protective clothing when practical (long sleeves and pants). Clothing should be light-colored to make ticks more visible. When hiking, wear a long-sleeved shirt tucked into pants, long pants tucked into high socks, and over-the-ankle shoes to keep ticks out.
- Regularly mow lawns and cut brush. Ticks like to hide in overgrown, shady areas.
- When hiking, walk in the middle of trails, away from tall grass and bushes.
- Check yourself every eight hours for ticks when outside for extended periods of time. Promptly remove a tick if one is found. If you find a tick, grasp the tick with tweezers as close to the skin as possible and slowly pull it straight out. Do not crush or puncture the tick and try to avoid touching the tick with your bare hands. Thoroughly disinfect the bite area and wash your hands immediately after removal.
For more information on arboviral disease surveillance in Kansas call the Kansas Department of Health and Environment's Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Response section at 1-785-296-1059 or e-mail at EpiHotline@kdheks.gov.
Surveillance Results, 2014
There have been no human cases of West Nile virus as of July 18, 2014.
Mosquito Surveillance - The Kansas Biological Survey (KBS) traps biting mosquitoes weekly at 9 sites in and around the Wichita metropolitan area. The mosquitoes are identified and counted. Female mosquitoes of species recognized as arbovirus vectors are submitted to KHEL for testing. Each week we report the total number of mosquitoes and number of Culex mosquitoes collected. The Culex species of mosquitoes are the primary vector for West Nile virus in the United States and Kansas. An increase in mosquitoes, especially Culex species may indicate an increased risk of West Nile virus transmission.
All mosquitoes tested at KHEL have been negative for West Nile virus as of June 25th, however, it is still important to protect yourself. Fight the Bite! Avoid mosquito bites by following the three Ds: DRAIN (eliminate standing water where mosquitoes live and breed), DRESS (cover your skin with clothing when outdoors) and DEET (use insect repellents that contain DEET).
Kansas Biological Survey - http://kbs.ku.edu/
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention –
Arbonet Maps - http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/usgs_frame.html
La Crosse encephalitis - http://www.cdc.gov/lac/
St. Louis encephalitis - http://www.cdc.gov/sle/
West Nile virus -http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm
Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine
Information about West Nile virus in horses - http://www.vet.k-state.edu/VHC/equine/medicine/west.nile.htm
Kansas Department of Health and Environment –
Information on number of cases of any reportable disease - http://www.kdheks.gov/epi/annual_summary.htm