West Nile Virus infects Fremont County resident, two cases now reported in Wyoming

(Cheyenne, Wyo.) – The Wyoming Department of Health in Cheyenne is now reporting that a Fremont County resident is the second person in Wyoming this summer to have a case of West Nile Virus infection. The first case was reported last Friday in Platte County.

The Fremont County Weed and Pest Department is reporting that mosquito trapping during the last week had turned up cases of West Nile Virus in that population in a number of areas in the county, including Lander, Riverton, rural Hudson, and Arapahoe. Fremont County also tests for the virus in neighboring Natrona County, and WNV infected mosquitos were found there, as well.

“Wyoming’s season for West Nile virus is not finished. It remains important for people to protect themselves from the mosquito bites that can spread the disease,” said Emily Thorp, surveillance epidemiologist with the Wyoming Department of Health.

Mosquitos testing positive for the disease in Fremont County included traps in Tweed Lane, on  Smith Court, Carbine Lane and on Washakie Street. The WNV infected mosquitos were previously found in the sewer pond area and also along Tweed Lane. In the Hudson area, WNV infected mosquitos were found on Snavely Lane between Lander and Hudson on two separate testing dates and on Ohio Street in the town. Riverton’s infected mosquitos were found along Davis Lane and along North Smith Road. In rural Riverton area, two separate WNV infected mosquitos were detected at the St. Stephen’s Mission Area.

“Please remember that not finding any mosquitoes positive for West Nile virus does not mean it is not present in that area, only that no mosquitoes were trapped that carry the disease,” said Nancy Pieropan, coordinator of the WNV monitoring program at Fremont County Weed and Pest.

Thorp noted a few of the states surrounding Wyoming have seen a handful of WNV cases and said activity nationally is significantly lower so far this year compared to 2012.

Most people infected with WNV never develop symptoms.  Among those who become ill, symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph nodes.  A very small percentage of infected persons develop West Nile neuroinvasive disease (i.e. meningitis or encephalitis) with symptoms such as severe headache, fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions and paralysis.

The Wyoming Public Health Laboratory offers free WNV testing for healthcare providers with suspected cases in their patients.

In Wyoming last year, seven human WNV cases were reported. Since WNV first appeared in Wyoming in 2002, the annual numbers of reported human cases have ranged from two with no deaths to 393 and nine deaths.

The “5 D’s” of prevention include:

1) DAWN and 2) DUSK – Most mosquito species prefer to feed at dawn or dusk, so avoid spending time outside during these times.

3) DRESS – Wear shoes, socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt outdoors or when mosquitoes are most active. Clothing should be light-colored and made of tightly woven materials.
4) DRAIN – Mosquitoes breed in shallow, stagnant water. Reduce the amount of standing water by draining and/or removing it.
5) DEET – Use an insect repellent containing DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide). When using DEET, be sure to read and follow the label instructions. Other insect repellents such as Picaridin (KBR 3023) or oil of lemon eucalyptus can also be effective.