Health officials are urging the public to be vigilant and take proper precautions to protect against getting the virus.
BOISE, Idaho — Central District Health officials have confirmed the first West Nile virus death in Idaho his year is an Ada County man in his 50s who died last week. The man also contracted the virus in Ada County.
Health officials are urging the public to take proper precautions and use of prevention measures.
“The recent infections and discovery of mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus serves as a reminder to protect ourselves. West Nile virus is present in many of our counties and we encourage members of the public to use caution and prevention measures to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their animals,” said Lindsay Haskell, CDH’s Communicable Disease Control Manager.
This is the first death attributed to complications associated with West Nile virus to occur this year in Idaho. So far, 12 counties across the state reported finding mosquito pools that tested positive for the virus. Two people and six horses have been reported as infected in Idaho.
There is currently not a vaccine for humans. Around eight out of ten people infected with West Nile virus don’t develop any symptoms. Those who do develop symptoms experience headaches, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rashes. If you develop symptoms, be sure to contact your healthcare provider and get tested for the virus.
West Nile virus does not usually affect pets such as dogs and cats, but it can causes severe illness in horses and certain species of birds. There are several vaccines available for horses. People are advised to vaccinate their horses annually.
Here are some precautions to help you “fight the bite,” and reduce the likelihood of WNV infection:
• Wear repellent containing DEET, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (all EPA-approved repellents) according to the label. Carefully follow instructions on the product label, especially for children.
• Avoid mosquitoes, particularly between dusk and dawn when they are most active.
• Remove standing water around your home – this is where mosquitoes like to breed.
• Cover up your skin with clothing between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
• 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 and harbor mosquito eggs.
• Change birdbaths, static decorative ponds, and animal water tanks weekly because they may provide a suitable mosquito habitat.
See the latest news from around the Treasure Valley and the Gem State in our YouTube playlist: