Owyhee County -- Idaho’s first locally-acquired human West Nile virus (WNV) infections this year have been identified among two Owyhee County residents. Both residents were over the age of 50. One was diagnosed with West Nile fever and the other was identified through blood donor screening. These are the first human cases of WNV infection in Idaho for 2020.
So far this year, WNV activity has been detected in six southwest counties.
“The detection of West Nile virus-positive mosquitoes has increased significantly during the last few weeks and we strongly encourage Idahoans to fight the bite of mosquitoes to protect themselves and their families,” said Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, state public health veterinarian. “Confirmation of human infection makes it increasingly important for all of us to take protective measures. This includes wearing insect repellent and protective clothing in addition to reducing standing water around our gardens and homes where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.”
To protect against WNV infection, people should avoid mosquitoes, particularly between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. In addition, everyone 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 property; check and drain toys, trays or pots outdoors that can hold water.
- Change bird baths, static decorative ponds, and animal water tanks weekly to reduce suitable mosquito habitats.
Sept. 9, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare