Health officials say a Canyon County man in his 50s had been diagnosed with the West Nile Virus. They say he may have been exposed to the virus in Adams County.
“West Nile Virus is a potentially serious illness that is usually spread to animals and humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It does not spread from person-to-person,” said Southwest District Health Department spokeswoman Katrina Williams.
Most people infected with the virus do not show symptoms, although more severe symptoms may occur. People with symptoms may experience fever, headaches, body aches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash typically occurring two to fourteen days after the bite of an infected mosquito.
“About one in 150 people infected with WNV develop severe illness such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), or meningitis (inflammation of the linings of the brain and spinal cord),” said Jami Delmore, Environmental Health Supervisor for Southwest District Health. “These more severe infections are marked by a rapid onset of a high fever, headache, neck stiffness, body aches, disorientation, and tremors,” she said.
Delmore advises everyone to be cautious outdoors between dusk and dawn when the mosquitoes that carry WNV are most active. She suggests wearing light-colored clothing, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks. Other precautions include insuring you and your children are protected by using mosquito repellant containing an EPA-registered active ingredient, such as DEET or Picaridin. Follow label directions, particularly as they apply to children under twelve years of age.
“Although there is no vaccine available for humans at this time, we encourage anyone experiencing these symptoms to consult with your medical provider and ask to be tested for WNV,” she said.