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Halstead, KS 67056

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West Nile Virus Season Is Hear; Area May Be At Risk

Posted 9/7/2017

By Pilar Martin

HARVEY COUNTY—You may think with summer nearly over, the threat of mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses are nothing to worry about.

However, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) released a report last week showing the West Nile Virus has been detected in Sedgwick and Reno counties. Only four counties in the state perform mosquito surveillance. So it is not known if the disease is present in mosquitoes here.

Surveillance is done from mid-May through October.

Skip Cowan with the Harvey County Health Department said those four counties have labs of their own. “We don’t have a lab here. That is a separate funding source,” Cowan said.

Cowan’s department is notified if it is determined a person contracted West Nile in Harvey County.

“It’s hard to establish exactly where someone is bit,” Cowan said. “People travel so much. If a blood sample tests positive, our department will be notified.”

West Nile is contracted by bites from the culex mosquito. The mosquito season is late summer and early fall, until the first hard freeze. There are no vaccinations to prevent getting West Nile.

According to the KDHE website, the entire state is in high risk for those culex mosquitoes right now.  The best thing you can do is use preventative measures for you and your family.

To continue reading, please see this week's print edition.