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

Canyon County reports travel-related Zika case

Southwest District Health has reported a third case of travel-related Zika virus infection in Idaho. Here’s the news release:

CANYON COUNTY REPORTS TRAVEL-RELATED ZIKA

Southwest District Health officials confirmed today that a Canyon County male in his 40’s has tested positive for the Zika virus, after traveling to an area outside the U. S. with active Zika virus transmission. He was not hospitalized. The case is yet to be interviewed, but initial information suggests this was likely travel-related. This is the 3rd case of travel-acquired Zika virus disease to be reported in Idaho this year. There have been no locally-acquired cases in Idaho. At this time, there is no vaccine or medicine for the virus.

The Zika virus is an emerging mosquito-borne disease in the Western Hemisphere. It spreads to people primarily through the bite of two species of infected mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus). These mosquitoes also carry dengue fever and chikungunya. These two species of mosquitoes are not native to Idaho.

According to Randi Pedersen, Epidemiologist for Southwest District Health, Zika typically does not cause symptoms or causes only a mild illness lasting up to a week. Some infected cases experience mild symptoms, such as fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes for up to a week, but many people don’t even know they are infected. 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

What you need to know about Zika virus infection and pregnancy

Zika virus is scary for women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. A lot of information has been in the news about this mosquito-borne infection and how it affects pregnancies, and we thought it would be a good idea to revisit this topic to discuss what we do and don’t know.

So let’s go over the basics first. How does a pregnant woman get infected with Zika?

The most common way is from the bite of an infected mosquito. The mosquito that can carry the virus is not found in Idaho, but it is found in some southern areas of the United States as well as the countries having an outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps a list and issues travel advisories for countries experiencing an outbreak. A pregnant woman also can be infected if she engages in unprotected sexual activity with a man who is infected.  Continue reading

Oregon confirms its first travel-associated case of Zika virus this year

The Oregon Health Authority’s Public Health Division has confirmed that a person in Oregon has been diagnosed with a travel-associated Zika virus infection. The adult woman contracted the virus in an affected country outside the United States and has recovered. There is no danger to the public.

This is the first laboratory-confirmed case of Zika in Oregon in 2016. Before this, three Oregonians have had travel-associated Zika confirmed since 2014. Oregon is first of Idaho’s neighboring states to report a Zika case this year.  Continue reading

What you need to know about the Zika virus

Pregnant women and anyone else planning to travel someplace warm and tropical this winter should check travel advisories to see if their destination is included in a list of countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas and the Pacific islands. Several countries are experiencing an outbreak of Zika virus, which is a concern among public health officials.

What is Zika virus?

It is a virus transmitted through the bite of the same kind of mosquito that spreads dengue and chikungunya viruses. This mosquito species is fairly common throughout the world, so outbreaks are likely to continue. People not planning a trip to one of the countries listed in the travel advisory can rest easy: The mosquito that spreads the virus is not found in Idaho.  Continue reading