Iowa reports first-ever case of Heartland virus; first case of the season of West Nile virus

 (Photo: Deep Look / CC BY-SA 4.0 / License Link)(MGN)
(Photo: Deep Look / CC BY-SA 4.0 / License Link)(MGN) (KWQC)
Published: Jun. 17, 2020 at 12:52 PM CDT
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Officials with the Iowa Department of Public Health have announced the first case of the season of West Nile virus and the first-ever reported case of the Heartland virus.

The first reported case of the West Nile virus this season was confirmed by the State Hygienic Laboratory and is an adult between the ages of 18 and 40 from Polk County.

"About 20 percent of people infected with West Nile virus will have mild to moderate symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches and vomiting," officials said in the release. "Less than one percent of people infected become seriously ill and rarely, someone dies."

The department of public health also announced the state's first-ever report of the Heartland virus.

This was found in an older adult between the ages of 61 and 80 in Appanoose County.

"Heartland virus is a Phlebovirus that is thought to be transmitted by the Lone Star tick and was first discovered in 2009 in Missouri," officials said in the release. "Since then, cases have expanded across the Midwestern and southern United States."

Officials say symptoms include; fever, fatigue, anorexia, nausea and diarrhea and treatment is supportive care.

“These reports are an important reminder that as Iowans take advantage of outdoor activities, they should take precautions to prevent tick and mosquito bites,” said IDPH Deputy State Epidemiologist and Public Health Veterinarian, Dr. Ann Garvey.

The best way to prevent tick and mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile and Heartland viruses is to:

- Use insect repellent with DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Always read the repellent label and consult with a health care provider if you have questions when using these types of products for children. For example, DEET should not be used on infants less than 2 months old and oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under 3 years old.

- Avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

- Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, shoes, and socks whenever possible outdoors.

- Eliminate standing water around the home because that's where mosquitoes lay eggs. Empty water from buckets, cans, pool covers and pet water dishes. Change water in bird baths every three to four days.

- Stay on trails when walking or hiking and avoid high grass.

- After each day spent in tick-infested areas, check yourself, your children, and your pets for ticks. Promptly remove any attached tick.

For more information about West Nile virus,

For more information about Heartland virus,




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