Homedale man diagnosed with West Nile virus

Southwest District Health has confirmed the fourth human case of West Nile virus in Idaho.

The victim, a man in his 30s, has not been hospitalized. Officials, who have not yet confirmed when the man’s symptoms began, are continuing their investigation.

The case is the first human West Nile case in Owyhee County.

Last week, health officials announced a Canyon County woman in her 50s was diagnosed with the virus. She was not hospitalized and reported first noticing symptoms around July 10.

A Payette woman in her 50s and a Washington County woman in her 60s also contracted the virus last month.

Mosquitoes carry the virus and contaminated insects have been found in nine Idaho counties: Ada, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Washington, Payette, Valley, Adams and Bingham.

Most people infected with West Nile show no symptoms. About one in five end up with a fever, headache, body aches, vomiting, a rash or other symptoms; a few — less than 1 percent — develop a serious inflammation of the brain that can cause permanent damage or death.

West Nile has been present in Idaho since 2004, arriving in a rush across most of the state in 2006 in a year that tallied 23 deaths related to the virus. In recent years it has infected a couple of dozen of Idahoans a year, with no more than one or two deaths reported each year after 2006.

Health officials encourage people to avoid getting bit by mosquitoes. Applying repellant containing DEET, Picaridin or oil of Eucalyptus are recommended.

Remove standing water around your home to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

Cover your skin with clothing between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.