WASHINGTON COUNTY, Idaho — West Nile virus has been confirmed in two Washington County residents. “A resident (only identified as) over the age of 30 was diagnosed with West Nile neuro-invasive disease. Another resident (only identified as) over the age of 60 was diagnosed with West Nile fever. These are the first human cases of West Nile virus infection in Idaho for 2019,” said Southwest District health department spokesperson Katrina Williams.
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.
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 West Nile virus 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.
The more you are outdoors, the higher risk you could be bitten by an infected mosquito.
If possible, avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn when disease-carrying mosquitoes are most active and feeding. If you must be outside at dawn or dusk, wear long sleeves, pants, and loose-fitting clothing.
Other precautionary measures include:
When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient, such as DEET or Picaridin (Follow manufacturers’ instructions on the label.) In addition, certain products which contain permethrin are recommended for use on clothing, shoes, bed nets, and camping gear.
Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by draining standing water from flower pots, buckets, barrels, pool covers, and wading pools.
Avoid over-irrigating your lawns, gardens, or pastures.
Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths and watering troughs at least twice weekly.
Drill holes in tire swings or old tires so water drains out.
Get your horses vaccinated against West Nile.