Northeast Tri County Health District has been advised of an area horse that has tested positive for West Nile virus. The horse is from the southern Stevens County area. Within Washington state, there have been no confirmed human cases of the disease within the past year.
WNV is spread from the bite of an infected mosquito. Of those who are infected with the viruses, eight out of 10 will not become ill. Individuals who do become ill (many of who have underlying medical conditions) will develop mild flu-like symptoms. One in 150 people will develop serious symptoms that include encephalitis, meningitis, or other complications. People over 60 years of age have the highest risk for a serious illness.
The virus can also cause serious illnesses in horses, mules, and donkeys. Horses that are infected can die. While there is no human vaccine for the virus, there is a vaccine for horses. To protect horses, owners in the region are advised to ask their veterinarian about the West Nile Virus vaccine.
Taking precautions can help reduce your chances of getting mosquito bites, including:
• Use Insect repellent registered with the EPA
• Wear long sleeves and pants when outside
• Treat clothing and gear with insect repellent
• Take steps to control mosquitoes indoors and outdoors:
• Use air conditioners if available
• Keep screen doors and window screens in good condition so that mosquitoes cannot get indoors.
• Dump all standing or stagnant water around the home.
• Prevent mosquito bites when traveling
For more information, refer to the Centers for Disease Control website, cdc.gov, for information on West Nile virus, the Environmental Protection Agency website, epa.gov for finding the correct insect repellant and the Washington Department of Health website, doh.wa.gov, for more information for statewide prevalence.
Information: Newport, 509-447-3131