While some parts of the state are considered to be at high risk, people in Leavenworth County and other counties in eastern Kansas are at moderate risk for the West Nile virus, according to the state health department.

While some parts of the state are considered to be at high risk, people in Leavenworth County and other counties in eastern Kansas are at moderate risk for the West Nile virus, according to the state health department.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment issued updated West Nile virus warning levels Friday for all of the state. No cases of the virus have been reported yet this year in Kansas.

West Nile virus is the most common mosquito-borne disease in the United States. About one in five people who are infected with the virus develop a fever and other symptoms. About one out of 150 people who are infected develop swelling of the brain or brain tissue that, in some cases, can be fatal, according to the KSDHE.

There are no vaccines or medications to treat West Nile virus. People who have had the virus before are considered to be immune.

Most West Nile virus infections occur in the late summer and early fall.

Counties in eastern Kansas as well as the northwest region of the state are considered to be at the moderate risk level.

According to the KDHE, this means there are high numbers of mosquitoes in these regions and infection with West Nile virus is likely.

Counties in central and southwest Kansas are in the high risk category.

The KDHE updates the West Nile virus risk level weekly. People can visit the department’s website, www.kdheks.gov/epi/arboviral_disease.htm, to check the risk levels.

While no cases of West Nile virus have been reported this year in Kansas, more than 600 cases of the most severe form of the virus and 30 deaths were reported in Kansas from 1999-2017.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most effective way to avoid West Nile virus is to prevent mosquito bites.

The CDC offers tips for preventing mosquito bites including the use of Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellents. People should use products with one of the following active ingredients – DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol or 2-undecanone. People also can wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to help protect themselves.

The CDC also recommends people use screens on windows and doors and air-conditioning when possible.

Once a week, people should empty and scrub, turn over, cover or throw out items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots or trash containers. Mosquitoes lay eggs near water.

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