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Sedgwick County resident dies from West Nile virus

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, August 29, 2013, at 3:17 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, August 29, 2013, at 3:22 p.m.

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State and Sedgwick County health officials encourage people to try to reduce mosquito populations by:

• Emptying standing water outside. This could include water in old tires, flower pots, abandoned swimming pools, folded tarps, bird baths and many other items that may hold water for several days.

• Treating water in ponds and water gardens by adding larvae-eating minnows or mosquito dunks. Each dunk kills mosquito larvae for 30 days or more and can be purchased at local home improvement stores.

To avoid mosquito bites:

• Consider staying indoors during peak mosquito biting times at dawn and dusk.

• Wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors during peak times.

• Use mosquito repellents. The most effective repellents contain DEET or permethrin. DEET can be applied directly to skin and clothing. You should use a higher percentage of DEET if you will be outdoors for several hours and lower percentage if time outside is limited. Permethrin can be used on clothing but not on skin.

A Sedgwick County resident has died from West Nile virus, health officials confirmed to The Eagle on Thursday.

Spokeswoman Miranda Steele said she could not provide details about specific patients but said doctors as of Monday had reported three cases of West Nile this year to the state, one of which was fatal. A second case in Sedgwick County also has been confirmed, making for a total of four cases across Kansas. That case has not yet been counted in state reports.

West Nile cases have been reported in Sedgwick, Atchison and Rush counties. A Sedgwick County spokeswoman confirmed Thursday that the fatal case occurred in the county.

Late last week, Sedgwick County officials said they were investigating their first case of West Nile for the year.

That patient was an adult.

West Nile is most often spread by the bite of an infected mosquito.

The county Friday posted a written statement about the case, along with this advice: “Most people with West Nile virus infection do not have any symptoms. About 20 percent of people infected experience mild symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea and vomiting. Less than 1 percent of people develop severe illness that may require hospitalization. Severe symptoms include neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, muscle weakness, numbness, paralysis and even coma or death.”

People with symptoms should seek medical attention immediately, the statement said.

Earlier this month, the state reported that an adult from Atchison County was Kansas’ first case of the year.

State health officials said there were 57 cases of West Nile virus in Kansas in 2012, the most since the virus was first found in Kansas.

Reach Deb Gruver at 316-268-6400 or dgruver@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SGCountyDeb.

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