Elmore County Woman Infected with West Nile Virus
MOUNTAIN HOME, Idaho (KLIX) – Idaho’s first case of West Nile Virus infection this year has been confirmed in Elmore County.
A woman, who is in her 30s and living in the county, was diagnosed with the virus and is recovering at home, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
WNV has been detected in mosquitoes in eight other Idaho counties since June 28.
“West Nile activity has ramped up significantly during the last few weeks across southern Idaho, so people are strongly encouraged to fight the bite of mosquitoes to protect themselves and their families,” Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, state public health veterinarian said in a prepared statement issued on Friday.
“This is a good warning for all of us to take protective measures, including wearing insect repellent and reducing mosquito habitat around our homes.”
Last year, according to the news release, 13 human cases of West Nile infection were reported, with the virus detected in 15 counties. No deaths were reported, but the department says it is difficult to predict the impact WNV will have from year-to-year. In 2006, Idaho led the nation for WNV illnesses with almost 1,000 infections that contributed to 23 deaths.
According to the health department:
WNV is usually contracted from the bite of an infected mosquito. To reduce the likelihood of infection, you should avoid mosquitoes, particularly between dusk and dawn when they are most active. You should also:
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 that may hold water.
Change bird baths, static decorative ponds, and animal water tanks weekly as they may provide a suitable mosquito habitat.
The department says that WNV does not usually affect domestic animals, but can cause severe illness in horses and certain types of birds. "Although there is no vaccine available for people, there are several vaccines available for horses. People are advised to vaccinate their horses annually."