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Health officials: West Nile virus is biggest threat from mosquitoes

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Public health officials are urging Iowans to protect themselves against mosquito bites, not because of a Zika virus, but because of the much more likely chance of contracting West Nile virus in the state. Since 2005, Iowa has had between five and 44 reported cases of West Nile each year. The greatest risk to Iowans for Zika virus is when they travel to areas of the world where Zika transmission is ongoing — for example, the Caribbean, Mexico and South America. To protect yourself against all mosquito bites and to prevent mosquito breeding, wear DEET-containing insect repellants; wear long sleeves and long pants when possible when outdoors; and avoid being outside when mosquitoes bite — at dusk and dawn. Also, patch up screens to protect your home from mosquitoes, and get rid of standing water to eliminate breeding grounds.

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