West Nile virus detected in eastern Idaho mosquitoes

WNVLogo2007Mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus (WNV) were detected in Bannock County on June 1, 2017, prompting health officials to remind people to take precautions to fight the bite. The positive mosquitoes, which are the first detected in the state this year, were collected by the Bannock County Mosquito Abatement District.

Last year, 10 counties across the state reported finding WNV-positive mosquito pools; nine people and 10 infected horses were reported. Although this first detection in 2017 occurred in eastern Idaho, WNV has been detected in most counties since it was introduced into the state in 2004; the majority of detections have been in central and southwestern Idaho. Continue reading

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Wet spring may mean higher mosquito-borne virus risk – Fight the bite!

WNVLogo2007It seems like it’s just starting to warm up and feel like spring, so is it mosquito season already?

Mosquito abatement districts are surveying and treating for mosquitoes earlier than usual this year because spring has been so wet and there has been widespread flooding across Idaho. Now is a good time to go over the precautions you should take to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites.

Other than an itchy bite mark, what’s the risk of getting bit by a mosquito?

Zika virus has been in the news a lot, but in Idaho and the rest of the United States, we worry the most about mosquitoes transmitting West Nile virus. This early in the season, we’ve had no reports of West Nile in mosquitoes, humans or horses. Last season in Idaho, West Nile virus was detected in nine symptomatic people, 10 horses, and a multitude of mosquitoes located across fifteen different counties. Fortunately, there were no deaths. Continue reading

Idaho traveler tests positive for Zika virus infection

A north Idaho woman over the age of 60 who recently traveled to Mexico is confirmed to have been infected with Zika virus, which can cause severe birth defects if infection occurs in pregnant women. This is the first reported case of Zika virus infection in the state, with Idaho becoming the 47th state to report a travel-related Zika virus infection this year.  The woman reportedly had symptoms, but did not require hospitalization.

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that is most commonly spread through the bite of the Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, which are not found in Idaho. Because of this, there is no danger to the general public of the virus circulating through casual contact. Continue reading

Mosquito season has begun! Tips to avoid mosquito bites (and reduce risk of West Nile)

 

mosquitoMosquito abatement districts are surveying and treating for the pesky little blood-suckers earlier than usual because spring has been so mild. So now is a good time to go over the precautions you should take to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites. Zika virus has been in the news a lot lately, but in Idaho and the rest of the United States, we worry the most about mosquitoes transmitting West Nile virus. This early in the season, we’ve had no reports of West Nile in mosquitoes, humans or horses. Last season in Idaho, 13 people and four horses were infected in six counties. Fortunately, there were no deaths.

Who needs to be thinking about how to avoid West Nile virus?

Everyone who plans to be outside this summer and fall should be thinking about how to avoid mosquito bites. The virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. We tend to see the most human illnesses from the virus in July and August, but that could change this year since the weather warmed up so quickly. Continue reading