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posted on June 12, 2014 15:07

NEWS RELEASE--FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                             DATE: June 12, 2014


Tom Shanahan
Public Information Officer
(208) 334-0668

West Nile virus detected in western Idaho

Mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus (WNV) have been detected in Payette County, prompting health officials to remind people to take precautions to fight the bite. The WNV-positive mosquitoes, which are the first discovered in the state this year, were detected by the Payette County Mosquito Abatement Program in a trap collected from an area southeast of the city of Payette.

In 2006, Idaho led the nation in West Nile illnesses with almost 1,000 human infections, which contributed to 23 deaths. In 2013, 40 human cases were reported in 16 counties, with two deaths.

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 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.

To reduce the likelihood of infection, avoid mosquitoes, particularly between dusk and dawn when they are most active. In addition, you should:

  • Cover up exposed skin when outdoors and apply DEET or other EPA-approved insect repellent 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 on your property; check and drain toys, trays or pots that are outdoors which may hold water.
  • Change bird baths and static decorative ponds weekly as they may provide a suitable mosquito habitat. 

WNV does not usually affect domestic animals, including dogs and cats, but it 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 have their horses vaccinated annually.

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