Advertisement

Idaho’s first human West Nile virus cases of year detected in Owyhee County

WNV has been detected this year in six southwest counties.
Idaho’s first locally-acquired human West Nile virus infections this year have been identified among two Owyhee County residents. Both residents were over the age of 50.
Idaho’s first locally-acquired human West Nile virus infections this year have been identified among two Owyhee County residents. Both residents were over the age of 50.(MGN Deep Look / CC BY-SA 4.0)
Published: Sep. 9, 2020 at 11:48 AM MDT
Email this link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BOISE, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - Idaho’s first locally-acquired human West Nile virus infections this year have been identified among two Owyhee County residents. Both residents were over the age of 50.

One was diagnosed with West Nile fever and the other was identified through blood donor screening. These are the first human cases of WNV infection in Idaho for 2020, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare announced Wednesday morning in a news release.

WNV has been detected this year in six southwest counties.

“The detection of West Nile virus-positive mosquitoes has increased significantly during the last few weeks and we strongly encourage Idahoans to fight the bite of mosquitoes to protect themselves and their families,” said Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, state public health veterinarian.

In 2019, 13 people in Idaho tested positive for the virus. WNV activity was reported in 12 counties in mosquitoes, horses, and people. In 2006, Idaho had more WNV illnesses than any other state, with almost 1,000 infections and 23 deaths.

“Confirmation of human infection makes it increasingly important for all of us to take protective measures,” Tengelsen said. “This includes wearing insect repellent and protective clothing in addition to reducing standing water around our gardens and homes where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.”

WNV is usually contracted from the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms of infection often 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. People can talk to their health care provider about testing if they suspect 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 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 property; check and drain toys, trays or pots outdoors that 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.

For more information, please visit www.westnile.idaho.gov.

Copyright 2020 KMVT/KSVT. All rights reserved.

Latest News

Latest News