Iowa is experiencing its worst West Nile virus outbreak in 15 years. State Deputy Epidemiologist Ann Garvey says 73 cases of the mosquito-borne virus have either been confirmed or are under investigation.
West Nile activity in Iowa peaked in 2003, when six people died and nearly 150 were sickened.
The three deaths in Iowa this year are the most from West Nile since 2003. Garvey is calling on Iowans not to let their guard down.
Confirmed cases of West Nile are likely to increase in the coming weeks. Garvey suggests heavy rains this summer, combined with warm temperatures, have boosted the mosquito population in Iowa. The pests won’t stop biting until the first hard frost.
Warm weather is in the weekend forecast, meaning many Iowans will be spending time outdoors. They’re urged to take precautions to reduce their exposure to mosquitoes, especially in the early morning and evening when the bugs are most active.
Garvey says all Iowans are at risk for West Nile virus if they’re outdoors and not wearing mosquito repellent.