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West Nile Virus Warning Amplified Across Kansas
Kansas Ag Connection - 09/14/2023

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has ramped up its warning for West Nile virus (WNV), especially as the state nears its peak transmission time. All areas, barring the southeast region, are on high alert. The southeast, while on a lesser threat level, is still at moderate risk.

In 2023, KDHE recorded 22 human WNV cases, with a concerning 17 being neuroinvasive and three fatal. The Agriculture Department also reported seven equine cases spread across various counties.

While many might not show symptoms, the virus isn't benign. A small fraction could develop neuroinvasive diseases which can be fatal. There's no direct treatment for humans - only supportive care. For horses, symptoms vary, but yearly vaccinations have shown promise. It’s important to note that the disease isn't contagious between horses or from horse to human.

Dr. Erin Petro, a notable health expert, advises caution, emphasizing mosquito bite prevention for safeguarding oneself, family, and livestock.

Among the key preventive measures include:

• Using DEET-based or other EPA-endorsed repellents.

• Dressing protectively outdoors, favoring long sleeves and pants.

• Avoiding outdoors during mosquito peak hours, especially dawn and dusk.

• Using and maintaining screens on doors and windows.

• Removing standing water, a common breeding site for mosquitoes.

• Staying updated on horse vaccinations against WNV.

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