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posted on July 10, 2014 16:04

Southwest District Health News Release

July 10, 2014                                                            MEDIA CONTACT:  Laurie Boston
(208) 455-5325
(208) 899-1268 cell laurie.boston@phd3.idaho.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                              

RESIDENTS ENCOURAGED TO REDUCE THEIR RISK FOR WEST NILE

Southwest District Health (SWDH) officials have confirmed mosquitoes collected in a trap in the Sweet area of Gem County, outside the Gem County Mosquito Abatement District boundary, have tested positive for West Nile virus. No human cases have been reported in Idaho this season.

The health district placed traps in six locations within the Sweet, Ola, and Montour area and will continue monitoring weekly. The Sweet pool is the first to test positive in this area for 2014. Three Culex tarsalis, the species that carry the West Nile virus, were contained in the pool.

“While this positive pool is very low in numbers, it is important that we all take steps to minimize our risk to the West Nile virus,” said David Loper, Division Director of Environmental Health Services for Southwest District Health. “Most mosquitoes out during the day are nuisance mosquitoes, but if possible, we should avoid activities between dawn and dusk when the mosquitoes that potentially carry West Nile are most active,” he said.

West Nile is a potentially serious illness that is usually spread to animals and humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. People with symptoms may experience fever, headaches, body aches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, eye pain, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash typically occurring two to fourteen days after the bite of an infected mosquito. In some cases the virus can cause severe illness, especially in people over the age of 50.

“We are all outdoors more during the summer, especially farmers who are spending long hours in the fields. We can continue to participate in outdoor activities by taking some simple steps to minimize the risk of mosquito bites and also reduce mosquito habitat around our home or work,” Loper said.

Precautions include:

  • The more you're outdoors, the higher risk you could be bitten by an infected mosquito. If possible, avoid activities at dawn or dusk when disease-carrying mosquitoes are most active and feeding. When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient, such as DEET or Picaridin (apply it according to manufacturers’ instructions.) Parents are advised not to apply repellant that contains more than 10 percent DEET on their children. In addition, certain products which contain permethrin are recommended for use on clothing, shoes, bed nets, and camping gear. Follow the directions on the package.
  • If you must be outside at dawn or dusk, dress appropriately by wearing long sleeves, pants, and loose-fitting clothing.
  • Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out. Also consider using mosquito netting on infant carriers.
  • Don’t over-irrigate your lawns, gardens, or pastures
  • Get your horses vaccinated against West Nile
  • Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by draining standing water from flower pots, buckets, and barrels. 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. Keep children's wading pools empty or on their sides when not in use. 

For more information, call Southwest District Health at (208) 455-5400.

 

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