JOHNSON COUNTY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) — No one likes mosquitoes – but they’re back.
That means it’s time to get out the insect repellent. The Johnson County Public Health Department says there’s typically a slight risk for West Nile Virus. A disease prevention specialist says if people have flu like symptoms in the middle of summer, it’s better to check with your doctor to make sure it’s not West Nile virus.
People at local parks say the gnats and mosquitoes are already pesting them this year. One public health expert said there are a few ways to keep from getting bitten.
“Mosquito prevention is always a good idea because there is always just a tiny risk that you could catch something. So mosquito repellent is great, long sleeves and emptying standing water in your yard is always a good idea” said Jake Riley, a disease prevention specialist with the Johnson County Public Health Department.
The gnats and mosquitoes can be quite a nuisance.
“They like to get in your face, they like to get on your skin, get in our eyes, and obviously our kids don’t understand what they are and it upsets them” said Jamie Lentz of Cedar Rapids.
“Depending on the time of the day, when the sun’s out it’s not as bad but you get in the shade and you notice it a bit more” said Jeff Mattison of Cedar Rapids.
“We have some at our house and definitely when we go out in our neighborhood walking but the parks are pretty bad though too” said Lentz.
Park rangers says gnats and mosquitoes are worse near bodies of water, and it’s best to avoid those areas on nighttime strolls.
“The sun starts going down and the bugs will start coming out” said Will Souer, a Johnson County Park Ranger.
But if you can’t resist taking a walk during sunset, be sure to wear long sleeves and pants. As for mosquito born diseases? The Johnson County Public Health Department says the only thing to watch out for is the West Nile virus.
“If you notice you’re having flu like symptoms in the middle of summer it’s something that’s probably worth going to your doctor about” said Riley.
Any chance of the Zika virus showing up in Iowa?
“The mosquitos that carry Zika aren’t established in Iowa so the risk is when you travel to somewhere where there is transmission ongoing” said Riley.
People say they’re looking forward to enjoying the summer – and spraying up can only help. Riley says the mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus aren’t located in Iowa. But if you have travel plans, you can see which areas have risk for Zika virus transmission at https://www.cdc.gov/zika/