Mosquitoes collected Tuesday in a trap during routine surveillance in central Emmett have tested positive for West Nile virus, according to Jason Kinley, director of the area’s mosquito abatement district.
This is the first time mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile in Idaho this year, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. Last year, Idaho had 19 cases of human West Nile infections, with no deaths.
“Of the five samples collected and tested in the specific area, only one sample tested positive for the disease,” Kinley said.
People can protect themselves from West Nile virus by following the “seven Ds” to avoid mosquito bites:
• Drain any standing water on your property, as standing water can produce mosquitoes.
• Dawn is a time to avoid the outdoors.
• Dusk is, too.
• Dress in long sleeves and pants when outdoors.
• Defend against mosquitoes by using an insect repellant.
• Door and window screens should be in good condition to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
• District personnel can help address any mosquito problem.
The virus is usually contracted from the bite of an infected mosquito. It is not spread from person-to-person through casual contact. Symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. In some cases, the virus can cause severe illness, especially in people over the age of 50.
The Gem County mosquito district is finding and treating any standing water that produces mosquitoes and is fogging to control adult mosquitoes.