Yakima man tests positive for West Nile virus

YAKIMA — A Yakima County man has tested positive for West Nile virus, and the Yakima Health District expects more cases might follow.

The case was reported in a man in his 70s. West Nile virus is spread by mosquitos that acquire the infection from birds.

“Please stay cautious and take additional steps to protect yourself and your loved ones to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes,” said Shawn Magee, the health district’s environmental health director. “While we have confirmed our first human case of West Nile virus, more cases may be reported.”

Transmission often continues until the first overnight freeze, usually in late October or early November.

The health district also reported a case in a horse in Yakima County, and said 16 mosquito pool samples tested positive for the virus.

Most people with West Nile virus have no symptoms. In 20% of cases, people might have a fever, headache, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. In some cases, the virus can cause severe illness and death.

There’s no specific treatment for West Nile virus. A vaccine is available that can prevent infection in horses, but it is not approved for human use.

A Tri-Cities area woman was diagnosed with West Nile virus in early August, according to the Benton Franklin Health District.

People are encouraged to avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn, wear long sleeves and pants and use mosquito repellent. Use repellents with DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus, and follow label directions carefully. Eliminate standing water where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.

Bug zappers and mosquito traps have not been shown to reduce the risk of West Nile virus, the health district said.

Source: Wenatchee World