NEWS RELEASE--FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: July 3, 2012
Public Information Officer
Mosquito Activity Increases, People Encouraged to ‘Fight the Bite’
Idaho mosquito abatement districts are reporting increased mosquito populations throughout the state, prompting public health officials to remind people to take precautions and ‘fight the bite’ against West Nile virus.
“We are hearing of a lot of mosquito activity throughout the state and this is a timely warning for people to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites,” says Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, Deputy State Epidemiologist. “West Nile virus is part of our ecosystem and can cause serious illness. Infections occur when mosquitoes are active – and they are active now.”
West Nile virus is usually contracted from the bite of an infected mosquito; it is not spread from person-to-person through casual contact. Symptoms of infection often include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach, and back. In some cases the virus can cause severe illness, especially in people over the age of 50. In 2006, Idaho led the nation in West Nile illnesses with almost 1,000 infections, which contributed to 23 deaths.
To reduce the likelihood of infection, people are advised to avoid mosquitoes, particularly between dusk and dawn when they are most active. In addition, you should:
West Nile virus does not usually affect domestic animals, including dogs and cats, but can cause severe illness in horses and certain species of birds. Although there is no vaccine available for people, there are several vaccines available for horses. People are advised to keep their horses vaccinated annually.
For more information, visit www.westnile.idaho.gov.