Welcome to the Siouxland District Health Department (SDHD) Website. Use the A-Z Index to easily search our site or find out more about our programs and services by clicking on that tab.
SDHD's mission statement: "leading a collaborative effort to build a healthier community through improved access to health services, education and disease prevention."
Vision statement: “A healthy community for all”.
Mosquitoes & West Nile Virus
Mosquitoes are not JUST a nuisance. They sometimes carry diseases like West Nile Virus. Now is the time of year when the disease-carrying mosquitoes are starting become more common and there have been reported cases of West Nile Virus reported in Northwest Iowa already this year. So take precautions to prevent mosquito bites!
How is West Nile virus spread?
Mosquitoes can get West Nile virus when feeding on infected birds. Mosquitoes can then spread the virus to people through a bite. West Nile virus cannot be spread by person-to-person contact such as kissing, touching, or caring for an infected person. West Nile virus can also rarely be transmitted to humans who receive infected organs by transplantation or who receive transfusions of infected blood or blood products.
Is a person that is bitten by a mosquito in an area known to have West Nile virus likely to
No. The chance of getting infected with the virus is low. Even in areas where the virus is circulating, very few mosquitoes are infected with the virus and not all mosquitoes can successfully transmit the virus. Most people who become infected with West Nile virus following a mosquito bite do not develop any symptoms.
What are the symptoms of West Nile virus?
Most people who are infected with West Nile virus either have no symptoms or experience mild illness such as fever, headache, and body aches before fully recovering. Some persons may develop a skin rash and swollen lymph glands. In <1% of infections, particularly in those persons over age 50, West Nile virus can cause serious disease, such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord). These conditions may result in permanent brain damage, or on rare occasions, can be fatal. Symptoms of severe disease can include severe headache, high fever, stiff neck, confusion, loss of consciousness, tremors, muscle weakness, and paralysis.
How is an infection with West Nile virus diagnosed and treated?
A healthcare provider can diagnose West Nile virus through special tests. There is no vaccine or specific treatment, though a physician may prescribe medications to reduce symptoms. In severe cases, hospitalization may be required. Persons who have been exposed (i.e. bit by a mosquito), but have not developed symptoms do not need to be tested. Your healthcare provider should be contacted if you develop severe symptoms.
How can an infection with West Nile virus be prevented?
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites and eliminate mosquito breeding sites
- Insect repellents containing DEET, permethrin, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus have shown to be effective against mosquitoes. Permethrin repellants should be applied to clothing onlyand should not be used on the skin. Products containing up to 30% DEET have been shown to be the most effective and are safe for adults, including pregnant women and children over 2 months of age. DEET should be applied sparingly only to exposed skin and should not be used underneath clothing.
- Repellent products must state any age restriction. If there is none, EPA has not required a restriction on the use of the product. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommends that repellents with Iowa Dept. of Public Health Reviewed 01/14 West Nile Virus Fact Sheet 1 DEET should not be used on infants less than 2 months old. According to the label, oil of lemon eucalyptus products should NOT be used on children under 3 years.
- Wear light colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you are outdoors for long periods of time or when mosquitoes are most active.
- Make sure doors and windows have tight fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have holes or tears.
- Eliminating mosquito-breeding sites (they breed by laying eggs in standing water) by removing sources of standing water in outdoor areas where you work or play. Specific activities include the following:Turning over or removing items where rainwater can collect, such as ceramic pots, toys, buckets, tires, wading pools, and tarps covering firewood and boats; Changing water in birdbaths and pet bowls every 3-4 days; Making sure roof gutters are clean and in good repair; Repairing leaky outdoor faucets, air conditioners, and hoses; and Stocking ornamental ponds with mosquito dunks or fish that eat mosquito larvae.
Breastfeeding & Health Fair August 6th
A breastfeeding and health fair will be held at SDHD, 1014 Nebraska St, on Wednesday, August 6th from 10:00AM - 3:00PM to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week which is August 1 - 7. Door prizes will be given away.
View the Breastfeeding & Health Fair Flier
Get Public Health Information and Updates from SDHD on Facebook & Twitter
Siouxland District Health Department is on Facebook and Twitter @SiouxlandHealth. "Like" or "Follow Us" so you can get timely public health information and updates on disease outbreaks, foodborne illnesses, programs and services, and general health information.