West Nile virus expected in county

The wet spring could make the area a haven for mosquitoes, and unfortunately, the West Nile virus.

John Kunc, sanitarian with the county, spoke to the Marshall County board of health on the issue during a meeting Tuesday.

He said they are expecting to have West Nile in the area this year, though no cases have been reported yet.

“It’s here,” Kunc said. “It’s just a matter of when.”

Public Health Nurse Pat Thompson recommends using bug repellant with DEET, wearing clothing covering exposed skin, and removing standing water as ways to prevent mosquito bites and West Nile. She said anytime mosquitoes are prevalent West Nile is a concern.

“It has the potential to be an issue,” Thompson said.

Board member Dr. David Thomas suggested public health send an email to health care providers on West Nile with information on what to look for from patients. He said since the past year was dry it might not be on the minds of physicians.

“It’s sort of off the radar for people right now,” Thomas said.

Most people infected with West Nile have no symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately one in five people who are infected develop a fever with other symptoms such as head or body aches. Less than 1 percent of infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurological illness, the CDC reports.

The next meeting of the board of health will be at 10 a.m. Sept. 10.