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For immediate release
Wednesday, August 28, 2002

For more information
Ron Parker, 515-281-0173

State Receives Federal
Assistance to Combat West Nile

DES MOINES – The State of Iowa will receive $400,000 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to battle the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus, Governor Vilsack announced today.

Vilsack said the federal funds would be used to assist Iowa in dealing with the infection.

“With today’s report of the first confirmed human case of West Nile Virus in Iowa, we must continue to do everything we can to combat this disease and to provide health care security to Iowa families,” Vilsack said.

Vilsack and Dr. Stephen Gleason, Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, said the money would be used in three key areas:

University of Iowa Hygienic Lab - $304,284 to assist the lab in the testing of human, bird and mosquito samples for West Nile.

Iowa State University - $60,716 to support the collection of mosquitoes for testing, as well as research into the ability of the virus to survive Iowa winters.

Iowa Department of Public Health - $35,000 to provide for West Nile Virus education materials for both the general public and professional medical community.

“West Nile Virus has rapidly moved this summer into states that hadn’t been infected before,” said Dr. Steven Ostroff, deputy director of the CDC’s National Center for Infectious Diseases. “We’re pleased to be able to award Iowa these funds to support the public health community and combat this virus.”

Vilsack and Gleason reminded Iowans today to continue to take measures to protect themselves and their families from exposure to mosquitoes. This includes avoiding outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active; wearing a long-sleeved shirt and pants when possible; and using mosquito-repellents containing DEET.