West Nile virus detected in Canyon County mosquitoes

Mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus (WNV) were detected in Canyon County on June 14, prompting public 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 Canyon County Mosquito Abatement District. The positive lab results were confirmed Tuesday.

Last year, one death was reported because of WNV complications, and 11 counties across the state reported finding mosquito pools that tested positive for West Nile virus. Sixteen people and five horses were infected. This first detection of 2019 occurred in western Idaho, an area where positive mosquitoes have been found almost every year since West Nile virus was first detected in Idaho in 2004.

West Nile virus is contracted from the bite of an infected mosquito; it is not spread from person-to-person through casual contact. Symptoms often include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash. In some cases, the virus can cause severe illness, especially in people over the age of 50, and may require hospitalization. On rare occasion, it can lead to death.  Continue reading

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Mosquito and tick prevention: How to avoid getting bitten

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Warm summer days means more time outdoors as we take advantage of the weather and longer daylight hours. Unfortunately, the nicer weather also brings out ticks and mosquitoes. A bite from either can cause diseases that might seriously impact your health. It’s important to do everything you can to avoid getting bitten.

Tick- and mosquito-borne diseases can vary by region in the United States. Besides West Nile virus, are there other insect-borne diseases we should be informed about in Idaho?

That is a great question – before you head into the outdoors, you should learn more about the diseases associated with local ticks and mosquitoes. In Idaho, public health officials are most concerned about West Nile virus, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, tick-borne relapsing fever, and tularemia.

What about Lyme disease?

We often hear about Lyme disease in the national media, but cases in Idaho are rare and mostly occur in people who traveled to other areas of the country where infected ticks have been found. The tick that carries Lyme disease is not known to live in Idaho, but since cases are tracked by where a person lives rather than where they were infected, Idaho will have some cases over the years, usually in people returning from trips in the eastern or midwestern U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is an excellent resource if you want to learn more about the risks of insect bites in a different state or country. Continue reading

Fight the Bite: Reduce your risk of West Nile virus by avoiding mosquito bites this summer

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

Yes, local mosquito abatement districts are surveying and treating for mosquitoes already this year. We’ve had a lot of rain showers this spring and that means standing water is abundant, serving as prime egg laying areas for mosquitoes. Now is a good time to go over the precautions you should take to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites and the potentially dangerous viruses they can bring. Continue reading

Spring has arrived in Idaho…and so have ticks and mosquitoes! Prevention tips:

WNVLogo2007As the weather warms up, more of us are getting outdoors with our families and pets for fun and exercise. Unfortunately, the nicer weather also brings out ticks and mosquitoes. A bite from one of these not-so-delightful creatures can cause disease and have a serious impact on your health. It’s important to do everything you can to avoid getting bitten. Continue reading

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

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