West Nile virus confirmed in Spokane County resident - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

West Nile virus confirmed in Spokane County resident

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SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. -

Spokane Regional Health District reports a human case of West Nile virus Monday, as well as four cases in horses, all likely acquired in Spokane County.

Washington State Public Health Laboratory confirmed the human case which occurred in a male in his 40s who was briefly hospitalized and has since recovered.

West Nile is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito and it is well established that some types of mosquitoes in Spokane County are capable of transmitting the virus.

Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab confirmed the virus in the four horses, two of which died. With the confirmations, officials are urging people to control mosquito populations and prevent exposure to bites.

“Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes that may be infected with West Nile virus,” said Dr. Joel McCullough, SRHD interim health officer. “During mosquito season, home and property owners should drain all standing water, at least twice a week, to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.”

There is currently no vaccine available for humans. Although less than 1 percent of people who become infected with West Nile virus will develop severe illness, some are at higher risk of severe disease, including those who are 60 years of age or older, those with compromised immune systems, or those with underlying medical conditions. Recently, a Benton County, Washington woman in her 70s died from the virus

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There is no vaccine for human West Nile virus, and treatment is limited to caring for symptoms. Anyone with questions about human-acquired virus should speak to their health care provider. Specific to horses, approximately one in three horses that become ill will die. Individuals should speak with their veterinarian about West Nile virus vaccine or seek more information from the WSDA website.

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