Missouri reached near-freezing temps last week, but are we in the clear from those pesky mosquitoes? State Health and Senior Services Director Dr. Randall Williams says not so fast.

Photos courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“What I tell people in Missouri, given our changes in season, that I would always use DEET. If I’m in the outdoors and there’s been any warm weather, check for ticks and use DEET,” says Williams.

Later in the summer is when more West Nile virus cases start popping up in Missouri.

Williams says Missouri does not have as many cases of the disease as some east coast states, but he says everyone should protect themselves, even in February.

“The incredibly troubling thing about it is that it tends to be so sporadic and so isolated, it’s hard to get a clear cluster or pattern to give specific advice. So, we have to give very broad advice, which is for everybody – they need to be aware of it. They need to use DEET. They need to take protective measures, realizing that many people will be exposed to mosquitoes and not come down with West Nile virus. But we’re just not good at predicting those people who will. So, our policy is everybody needs to be protected,” he says.

About 80% of people who get the virus do not show signs or symptoms and recover within a few days or a couple of weeks.

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