Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

By April S. Kelley
Reporter & Photographer 

Protect yourself from West Nile and Zika


The first reported case this year of West Nile Virus in Wyoming involved an adult from Goshen County, according to the Wyoming Department of Health. Though, there have not been any reported cases of Zika in Wyoming, the Wyoming Department of Health said it is still important to take precautions.

West Nile Virus first appeared in Wyoming in 2002. Reported cases of infection within a year have ranged from two with no deaths to 393 with nine deaths.

West Nile Virus is spread by mosquitoes when they feed on infected birds and then bite people, animals or other birds. Most individuals who are infected with West Nile Virus do not have symptoms. Individuals that do, experience fever, headache, skin rash, swollen lymph nodes and body aches.

The Wyoming Department of Health suggests several precautions residents should take to avoid getting the virus. Mosquitoes tend to prefer to feed at dawn or dusk. People should avoid spending time outside during these times. When outside, shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts should be worn. It helps if the clothing is light-colored and made of tightly woven materials. Mosquitoes also breed in shallow, stagnant water. Standing water should be drained or removed. The use of insect repellent is strongly suggested whenever outdoors.

As for the Zika virus, the Wyoming Department of Health has issued travel warnings as the virus reaches the U.S. Anyone traveling to Miami, Fla., especially pregnant women or those who may become pregnant, should pay attention to Zika-related travel warnings.

Zika can be passed to babies during pregnancy and may cause microephaly, a serious brain-related birth defect. It is mostly spread through bites of certain types of mosquitoes.

It is not expected to spread to Wyoming, but people should stay informed when planning to travel. The mosquitoes that spread the disease do not make their home in Wyoming and it has not been confirmed in any Wyoming resident.

Hot Springs County Nurse Manager Marie McDougall said individuals should follow the rules for protecting themselves.

“That’s going to be your best protection,” she said.


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