Public health officials are reminding people to “fight the bite” by taking measures to prevent mosquito bites, according to a statement Wednesday.
The first mosquitoes this year to test positive for the virus were collected by the Canyon County Mosquito Abatement District.
Last year, West Nile Virus was detected in 13 Idaho counties and reportedly affected 25 people, seven horses, three birds and one llama, according to the IDHW.
“Disease-carrying mosquitoes will be around now until a killing frost, so it is critical that you protect yourselves and your family members from their bite,” Dr. Leslie Tengelsen from the Division of Public Health said in a statement. “Finding positive mosquitoes in one part of the state is an indication that conditions are right for virus transmission so you should avoid mosquito bites even if tests have not yet confirmed the virus in your local mosquitoes.”
People generally contract the virus after being bitten by an infected mosquito, IDHW said in a statement, and it isn’t spread between people through casual contact.
Symptoms include a fever, headache, body aches, nausea and vomiting. It can sometimes lead to swollen lymph glands or a rash.
The virus can cause a severe illness in some people — particularly, those over age 50 — and may require hospitalization. In rare cases, it can lead to death.
There’s no vaccination for people, but there are several for horses.
Mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn. Here are IDHW’s suggestions about how to reduce the likelihood of infection:
- Cover your skin and apply DEET — on anyone older than 2 months old, including pregnant or breastfeeding women — or other insect repellent approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency while outdoors.
- Repair screens in your home or insect-proof them.
- Eliminate standing water at your home that may contain mosquito eggs.
- Change birdbaths and other static pond water weekly.