West Nile virus detected in North Idaho - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

West Nile virus detected in North Idaho

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NORTH IDAHO -

Mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus have been found in Boundary County. This is the first detection of the virus in northern Idaho.

In 2006, Idaho led the nation in West Nile illnesses with almost 1,000 infections, which contributed to 23 deaths. In 2013, 40 human cases were reported in 16 counties, and there were two deaths. In 2013 and to date in 2014, there have been no human cases of WNV in the five northern counties of Idaho.

WNV is usually contracted from the bite of an infected mosquito; it is not spread from person-to-person through casual contact.

Symptoms of infection often 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.

To reduce the likelihood of infection, avoid mosquitoes, particularly between dusk and dawn when they are most active. In addition, you should:

Cover up exposed skin when outdoors and apply DEET or other EPA-approved insect repellent to exposed skin and clothing. Carefully follow instructions on the product label, especially for children. Insect-proof your home by repairing or replacing screens. Reduce standing water on your property; check and drain toys, trays or pots outdoors which may hold water. Change bird baths and static decorative ponds weekly as they may provide a suitable mosquito habitat.

WNV does not usually affect domestic animals, including dogs and cats, but it can cause severe illness in horses and certain species of birds. Although there is no vaccine available for people, there are several vaccines available for horses. People are advised to keep their horses vaccinated annually.

For more information, visit www.westnile.idaho.gov.

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