Officials continue prevention measures, urge precautions after West Nile Virus related death

Posted at 4:27 PM, Aug 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-01 08:53:46-04

IDAHO — After the first West Nile Virus related death in Idaho this year, officials are working to control the mosquito population and urging people to take precautions.

“We call it the three D’s and it’s Drain, Dress and Defend,” Sam Brockway, the Program and Education specialist for the Ada County Weed, Pest and Mosquito Abatement District said.

Drain means getting rid of standing water on your property. Dress means wearing light-colored long-sleeved shirts and pants. Defend is wearing EPA-approved mosquito repellent.

Jason Kinley, the Director of the Gem County Mosquito Abatement District said the biggest thing people can do is get rid of standing water.

“It’s important to note that mosquitoes require standing water to develop into flying, biting, adult mosquitoes," he said.

Brockway said 1 in 5 people will experience symptoms after contracting West Nile Virus.

Symptoms include:

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

Central District Health (CDH) said there is no vaccine for West Nile Virus in humans, but there is one for horses. Several horses in the Treasure Valley have been infected with West Nile Virus and CDH is encouraging owners to get their horses vaccinated.

As we’ve reported, the Ada County Mosquito Abatement District is taking steps to control the mosquito population. An aerial application took place last week over parts of Kuna, Star, Eagle and Meridian.

Brockway said they’ve collected initial data following the spray and found the prevalence of West Nile in those areas was nearly nonexistent.

“85% of the sites that were within the aerial treatment area, we found a reduction of 90 to 100% of Culex species mosquitoes which carry West Nile,” he said.

Both Canyon County and Gem County have had to perform aerial applications also. Gem County also has a new drone to assist in control treatments.