West Nile virus detected in Elmore County

Posted at 11:35 AM, Aug 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-03 13:35:53-04

IDAHO — Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus were detected in Elmore County July 27, prompting health officials at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to remind people to take precautions to "Fight the Bite."

The positive mosquitoes were the first detected in Idaho this year and were collected by the Elmore County Mosquito Abatement District.

Last year, WNV contributed to the deaths of two people and was detected in 14 Idaho counties. WNV is usually contracted from the bite of an infected mosquito. It is not spread from person-to-person through casual contact.

Symptoms of infection can include fever, headache, body aches, nausea and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash. Infection can result in severe illness, especially in people 50 years and older. If you feel ill, talk to your healthcare provider about testing for WNV.

To protect against WNV infection, people should avoid mosquitoes, particularly between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

In addition, everyone should:

  • Cover up exposed skin when outdoors and apply DEET or other EPA-approved insect repellents to exposed skin and clothing. Carefully follow instructions on the product label, especially for children.
  • Insect-proof your home by repairing or replacing screens. 
  • Reduce standing water around homes and properties. Check and drain toys, trays, and pots that are outdoors and can hold water.
  • Change bird baths, static decorative ponds, and animal water tanks weekly to reduce suitable mosquito habitats.

WNV does not usually affect domestic animals but can cause severe illness in horses and some species of birds. Although there is no vaccine for people, there are several vaccines for horses, which should be vaccinated annually.

You can find more information on West Nile virus on the IDHW website.