A woman in Blaine County has been infected with the West Nile virus, marking the first human case this year in Idaho.
The patient, a woman in her 20s, is recovering from West Nile fever and didn't need to be hospitalized, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare said Tuesday.
The virus has been detected in mosquitoes in eight other counties in the Gem State, including Bingham County.
The West Nile virus 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. In some cases the virus can cause severe illness, especially in people older than 50, the health department said.
"We are hearing of heavy mosquito populations in a number of areas in the state, so people should be taking precautions to fight the bite and protect themselves and their families," said Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, deputy state epidemiologist, in a news release. "This is a good warning for everyone to aggressively take protective measures, such as wearing repellent and reducing mosquito breeding habitat around our homes."
Last year, 40 people in Idaho were reported with West Nile virus infections, which resulted in the deaths of two people. Sixteen of Idaho’s 44 counties reported West Nile activity during 2013. In 2006, Idaho led the nation in West Nile illnesses with almost 1,000 infections and 23 deaths.