West Nile Virus reported in southern Stevens County

Staff Writer

Northeast Tri County Health District has been advised of one area horse that has tested positive for West Nile virus. The horse is from the southern area of Stevens County.
The Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area has had no positive detections in the mosquito population this year. Within the state, there has only been one confirmed human case in Pierce County and was acquired out of state.
West Nile virus is spread from the bite of an infected mosquito.
According to Dr. Sam Artzis, Health Officer, “most people who are infected with the virus don’t become ill. However, 20 percent of people (many of who have underlying medical conditions) will develop mild flu-like symptoms. Some of those individuals, less than 10 percent, develop serious symptoms that include encephalitis, meningitis, or other complications. People over age 50 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.
Straight-forward precautions can help reduce the chances of getting mosquito bites, including:
• Use a mosquito repellent when spending time outdoors, and consider wearing long sleeves and pants when mosquitoes are most active.
• Stay indoors around dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
• Be sure that door and window screens are in good condition so that mosquitoes cannot get indoors.
• Reduce mosquito habitat around the home by dumping standing or stagnant water in old buckets, cans, flower pots, or old tires, and frequently change water in birdbaths, pet dishes, and water troughs.
While there is no human vaccine for the virus, there is a vaccine for horses. To protect horses, owners are advised to ask their veterinarian about the West Nile virus vaccine.
For more information, refer to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website www.cdc.gov for information on West Nile virus, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website www.epa.gov for finding the correct insect repellant and the Washington Department of Health (DOH) website www.doh.wa.gov for more information for statewide prevalence.