Health officials are advising people to take precautions after a mosquito collection pool in the Lincoln County area tested positive for the West Nile virus.
No human cases are confirmed, the West Central District Health Department said, but the department issued an alert Monday for Lincoln, Logan and McPherson counties.
The exact location of the pool that tested positive for the virus was not announced. However, most of the health department’s collection pools are in Lincoln County.
West Nile virus is commonly transmitted to humans by mosquitoes.
There are no medications or vaccines for the virus. Most people will not be affected, but about 1 in 5 who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms.
Less than 1% of infected people develop a serious neurologic illness that can be fatal.
Symptoms include a headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.
These positive results in the collection pool are a reminder to take precautions to protect yourself and loved ones from mosquito exposure, the WCDHD said.
The best defense against West Nile is protecting yourself with repellant and not giving mosquitoes a place to lay eggs or develop. Mosquitoes may breed in any puddle that lasts for more than four days.
• Use insect repellents when you go outdoors. Repellents containing DEET (up to 30%), picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide longer-lasting protection.
• Wear long sleeves and pants
• Drain standing water
• Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers that have collected on your property. Pay special attention to discarded tires. Stagnant water in tires is where most mosquitoes breed.
• Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors.
• Have clogged roof gutters cleaned regularly (spring & fall), particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug up the drains. Roof gutters can produce millions of mosquitoes each season.
• Turn over plastic wading pools and wheel barrows when not in use. Don't let water stagnate in birdbaths. These provide breeding habitats for domestic mosquitoes.
• Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens can become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate. Clean and chlorinate swimming pools not in use. A swimming pool left untended by a family on vacation for a month can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on pool covers.
• Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.