Mosquito pool testing for West Nile virus (WNV) has detected additional signs of the virus in Idaho. The Canyon County Mosquito Abatement District reports that mosquitoes collected between Parma and Notus tested positive for WNV over the weekend. Additionally, three traps from several locations in Gem County also show evidence of the virus. Since the first positive test of mosquito pools announced last Thursday, four additional pools have tested positive in less than a week.
The state’s first positive mosquito pool was reported from Gem County in the greater Emmett area on June 25. With high temperatures throughout the state, there is concern of increasing mosquito populations and activity, prompting warnings for people to take precautions. During 2014, 15 Idaho counties reported WNV activity, which included 19 infections in people.
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.