Richfield woman warns others to be aware of mosquito bites

RICHFIELD, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) As flowers bloom and the sun starts to shine so are those pesky flying creatures. Mosquitoes are known to carry illnesses and one of them includes the West Nile Virus.

Health experts say the virus is uncommon in the Gem State. In 2017 six cases where investigated in the Magic Valley, three came back confirmed.

From 2012 to 2016, 98 cases were reported in Idaho. 2013 saw the highest number of reported cases totaling up to 40. A Richfield woman became one those cases.

"I started to get really sick and I felt I had the flu — really bad headache, body aches so bad I couldn't move," said Alma Brown, who contracted West Nile in 2013. "I had it all. I just though it was the flu so I'd let it go."

After a rash appeared on her skin, she knew it was time to check it out.

"From head to toe, literally was just covered in the rash," said Brown. "Got a phone call from the health department stating that it was positive for West Nile."

There's no specific treatment or vaccines for the virus.

Christi Skuza, a public nurse and epidemiologist at South Central Public Health District Twin Falls Office, said the first reported case of West Nile Virus in Idaho was in 2004.

"Most of the time the people that contract West Nile they go camping outside of Idaho and then they come back with symptoms. So we don't see a lot in our area," Skuza said.

Skuza said there are options to avoid mosquito bites.

"We recommend try not be out those evening to early morning hours. If they're out, (wear) long pants, long sleeve shirts if they can. Obviously use any kind EPA approve bug repellent," Skuza said.

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