For Immediate Release
Mike Heideman, 785-296-4363
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) today announced the first reported case of West Nile Virus of 2007. The patient is an adult from North Central Kansas.
“Everyone should take action to protect themselves now that it is once again West Nile Virus season,” said Dr. Gail Hansen, KDHE State Epidemiologist. “Most people who get West Nile never know that they have it because West Nile usually doesn’t cause symptoms. In some cases though, West Nile Virus can prove very severe or even fatal.”
West Nile Virus can be spread to people by mosquitoes that first bite an infected bird, but 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. People who have had West Nile Virus before are considered immune.
KDHE recommends the following precautions to protect against West Nile Virus:
Cases are most common in the late summer and early fall months. In 2006, KDHE confirmed 25 West Nile cases that resulted in three deaths.
Birds are no longer tested for West Nile Virus in Kansas and KDHE will not be collecting information about dead birds. If you find a dead bird, KDHE recommends that you wear gloves, place the bird in a plastic bag, and dispose of it in the garbage.
So far this year, 11 states (including Colorado and Nebraska) have reported at least one human case of West Nile Virus to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sixteen states (including Missouri and Oklahoma) have reported West Nile Virus activity in birds, animals or mosquitoes. KDHE asks physicians to report cases by calling (877) 427-7317.
KDHE has established a Web site at www.kdheks.gov/westnile/ to provide information regarding the disease.
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