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West Nile virus detected in Idaho mosquitoes

CANYON COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus (WNV) were detected in Canyon County on June 14, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

The positive mosquitoes are the first detected in the state this year. They were collected by the Canyon County Mosquito Abatement District, and the positive lab results were confirmed Tuesday.

Last year, one death was reported because of WNV complications, and 11 counties across the state reported finding mosquito pools that tested positive for West Nile virus. 16 people and five horses were infected.

The area where the infected mosquitoes were detected is an area where positive mosquitoes have been found almost every year since West Nile virus was first detected in Idaho in 2004. 

West Nile virus is contracted from the bite of an infected mosquito. It is not spread from person-to-person through casual contact. 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. 

To reduce the likelihood of infection, take steps to avoid mosquitoes, particularly between dusk and dawn when they are most active. Idaho Department of Health and Welfare says to:

  • Cover up exposed skin when outdoors and apply DEET or other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved insect repellent to exposed skin and clothing. DEET may be used on adults, children, and infants older than 2 months of age. Carefully follow instructions on the product label, especially for children. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
  • Insect-proof your home by repairing or replacing screens. 
  • Reduce standing water on your property; check and drain toys, trays, or pots outdoors that may hold water and harbor mosquito eggs.
  • Change bird baths and static decorative ponds weekly as they may also provide a suitable mosquito habitat.

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