Ada County man dies after contracting West Nile Virus, CDH urges prevention measures

West Nile virus symptoms are similar to COVID-19 at first, experts say
Posted at 4:12 PM, Aug 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-30 18:16:11-04

BOISE, Idaho — An Ada County man has died after contracting West Nile Virus (WNV) in Ada County. Central District Health (CDH) says the man was over the age of 50 and is the first death related to West Nile Virus this year.

So far this year, 12 counties in Idaho reported finding mosquito pools that tested positive for WNV. Two people and six horses have been reported as infected in Idaho, according to CDH.

WNV does not usually affect domestic animals like dogs and cats, but it can cause severe illness in horses and certain bird species. There is no vaccine available for people, but there are several vaccines available for horses and CDH advises people to vaccine their horses annually.

CDH says most people infected with WNV don't develop any symptoms, but those who do experience the following:

  • headaches
  • body aches
  • joint pains
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • rashes

If you develop symptoms of WNV, CDH says to contact your healthcare provider and get tested for the virus. Central District Health recommends the following precautions to reduce the likelihood of infection:

  • Wear repellent containing DEET, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (all EPA-approved repellents) according to the label. Carefully follow instructions on the product label, especially for children.
  • Avoid mosquitoes, particularly between dusk and dawn when they are most active.
  • Remove standing water around your home - this is where mosquitoes like to breed.
  • Cover up your skin with clothing between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Insect-proof your home by repairing or replacing screens.
  • Reduce standing water on your property; check and drain toys, trays or pots outdoors that may hold water and harbor mosquito eggs.
  • Change birdbaths, static decorative ponds, and animal water tanks weekly because they may provide a suitable mosquito habitat.

Click here for more information on West Nile Virus in Idaho.