West Nile virus reported in Stevens County

Staff Writer

The Northeast Tri County Health District has been advised that an area horse that has tested positive for West Nile virus. The horse is from the south Stevens County area.
The Spokane Regional Health District has reported two mosquitoes with the virus. However, no horses have been infected.
Within the state, there have been no confirmed human cases of the disease within the past year.
The West Nile virus is spread from the bite of an infected mosquito. Of those who are infected with the viruses, 8 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.
Only 1 in 150 people will develop serious symptoms that include encephalitis, meningitis, or other complications. People over the age of 60 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 are advised to ask their veterinarian about the West Nile Virus vaccine.
Taking precautions can help humans reduce chances of getting mosquito bites while outside. They include using insect repellent registered with the EPA, treating clothing and gear with insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants.
Indoor precautions include using air air conditioners if available, keeping screen doors and window screens in good condition and dumping all standing or stagnant water around the home.
For more information, refer to the Centers for Disease Control 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 website www.doh.wa.gov for more information for statewide prevalence.