Another virus has shown up in Iowa for the first time. I know, just what we need. Thankfully, this one isn't contagious. However, it can make you very sick.

The Iowa Department of Public Health announced Wednesday afternoon that they have confirmed the state's first case of the Heartland virus. An older adult, between 61 and 80 years old from Appanoose County, is confirmed to have the virus.

Heartland virus was first found in Missouri in 2009 and it was confirmed in Illinois for the first time in 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2018, the CDC reported it had been confirmed in nine states.

Symptoms of Heartland virus are fever, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, muscle or joint pain, and loss or lack of appetite. The CDC says nearly every person infected with the virus ended up being hospitalized. The virus is believed to be transmitted by Lone Star ticks (see photo below).

The Iowa Department of Public Health has also reported the state's first case of West Nile Virus this year. An adult, between the ages of 18 and 40 from Polk County, is confirmed to have the virus. Approximately one in five people who contract West Nile will have mild to moderate symptoms including headache, fever, vomiting, and body aches. Less than one percent become very ill, with deaths extremely rare.

Below are suggestions on how to avoid viruses transmitted by mosquitos or ticks, courtesy of the CDC. Stay safe out there.

      • Insect repellent with DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Deet should not be used on children less than 2 months old. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on kids under 3.
      • Avoid outdoor activities when most mosquitoes are most active: dusk and dawn.
      • Long-sleeved shirts, pants, shoes, and socks should be worn outdoors when possible.
      • Don't allow standing water around your home, including emptying buckets, cans pet dishes, and pool covers. Birdbath water should be changed every three or four days.
      • Avoid high grass and stay on trails when possible while you're hiking or walking.
      • Check everyone for tickets and remove them, as soon as possible.

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