West Nile virus detected in western Idaho
Officials detected Idaho’s first case of West Nile virus in Canyon County.
Health officials are asking people to take the necessary precautions to “Fight the Bite.”
The mosquitoes infected with the virus were collected by the Canyon County Mosquito Abatement District on Thursday. Positive lab results were confirmed Tuesday.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare issued a news release Wednesday morning. The department said West Nile virus is contracted from the bite of an infected mosquito and is not spread from person-to-person through casual contact.
“This is the time of year we expect West Nile virus-positive mosquitoes to be found in Idaho,” says Dr. Christine Hahn, Division of Public Health medical director. “Avoiding mosquito bites is the best protection against infection with the virus.”
The health department said one person died last year because of WNV complications, and 11 counties across the state reported finding mosquito pools that tested positive for West Nile virus. Last year, 16 people and five horses were infected. This first detection of 2019 occurred in western Idaho, an area where positive mosquitoes have been found almost every year since West Nile virus was first detected in Idaho in 2004.
Symptoms often include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash. In some cases, the virus can cause severe illness, especially in people over the age of 50, and may require hospitalization. On rare occasion, it can lead to death.