KENNEWICK, WA — Mosquitoes recently collected in Kennewick and Richland have tested positive for West Nile virus.
West Nile virus activity has also been reported in Franklin and Walla Walla county this year. No human cases have been identified yet this year.
Benton County Mosquito Control Officials are unable to spray mosquitocide in the area until air quality improves.
Most people infected with West Nile virus will not get sick, however, one in five infected people will develop a fever and other symptoms such as a headache or body aches. West Nile virus infection can be very serious, resulting in encephalitis, meningitis, or other complications in about one out of 150 cases. In some cases, it can be fatal. People with certain medical conditions that affect the immune system, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, or kidney disease are at greater risk for serious illness.
Primarily causing infections in birds, West Nile virus can spread to people and other animals through mosquito bites. While a vaccine is available for horses, there is no current vaccine to prevent illness in people. Instead, people must take steps to help prevent infection.
Safety steps include:
- Drain sources of standing water around your home each week so mosquitoes don’t grow. The mosquitoes most likely to spread West Nile virus prefer to breed in water found in containers, tires, buckets, and other small sources of stagnant water.
- If possible, stay indoors during prime mosquito biting times: dusk and dawn.
- If going outside, use an EPA-approved insect repellent. Approved mosquito repellents have ingredients that include DEET, picaridin, PMD, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Be sure to read and follow the label directions
- Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Windows and doors without screens should be kept shut, especially at night.
- Dress with long sleeves, pants, and a hat when mosquitoes are present.
Source: NBC Right Now