Sedgwick County At High Risk For West Nile Virus

Jul 20, 2018

South-central Kansas, including Sedgwick County, is under a high-risk warning for West Nile virus.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said Friday that portions of north central and southwest Kansas also are under a high-risk warning. That is based on historical data involving previous cases.

Southeast, northeast and northwest Kansas are under a moderate risk.

West Nile virus is spread to people through mosquito bites; it is not spread person to person. The KDHE said one in five people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About one in 150 people infected can develop serious health issues.

Most cases occur in the late summer and early fall. KDHE said there have been no confirmed cases in 2018.

Between 1999 and 2017, KDHE reported more than 600 cases of severe West Nile virus infections and 30 deaths.

To prevent mosquito bites, the KDHE says:

Use insect repellent when outdoors.

Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Wear repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times, or stay indoors.

The elderly or people with a weakened immune system should limit their exposure outside during dusk and dawn.

Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from any source, including flower pots, buckets, bird baths and children's wading pools.

Tom Shine is director of news and public affairs at KMUW. Follow him on Twitter @thomaspshine.