PRESS RELEASE: WNV confirmed in Kootenai County
PHD has confirmed a human case of West Nile Virus in North Idaho. A Kootenai County resident over the age of 50 tested positive for the virus. This is the first locally-acquired human case ever reported in North Idaho.
What is West Nile Virus?
West Nile Virus is a virus carried by mosquitoes. It spreads to people through a mosquito bite. The virus was first identified in Africa, moved to Asia and the Middle East and reached North America in 1999. It rapidly spread across the United States from east to west.
Will it make me sick?
It may not make you sick at all. Most people bitten by an infected mosquito have no symptoms. But it can develop into a serious illness in others. About one of every five people infected develop these symptoms:
- body aches
- skin rash on the chest, stomach and back
- swollen lymph nodes in the neck
These symptoms may last for a few days in some people or a few weeks in others.
About one in every 150 people infected with West Nile Virus develops a severe illness. Their symptoms worsen to include:
- neck stiffness
- disorientation (confusion)
- muscle weakness
- vision loss
How does West Nile Virus spread?
Infected mosquitoes spread West Nile Virus through their bites. Mosquitoes get infected from feeding on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can spread the virus to people, horses and many other animals.
In a few cases, West Nile Virus has spread through blood transfusions, organ transplants, breastfeeding and from mother to baby during pregnancy.
The virus doesn’t spread from person to person through casual contact or touching or kissing.
How long does it take to get sick?
Symptoms usually develop three to 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
Can I prevent West Nile Virus?
Preventing mosquito bites is the best way to prevent West Nile Virus.
Use mosquito repellent when you’re outdoors that contains an EPA-registered active ingredient.
Dawn and dusk are when mosquitoes are most active. Cover exposed skin, stay indoors or wear repellent if you’re outdoors.
Check your window and door screens for holes that allow mosquitoes indoors.
Mosquitoes breed in standing water. Dump water from flower pots, buckets, etc. Change water in pet dishes and bird baths a few times each week. Empty wading pools between uses.
Is there a treatment for West Nile Virus?
There is no specific treatment. In severe cases, people often go to the hospital for supportive treatments such as intravenous fluids, help with breathing and nursing care.
Who’s at the greatest risk of getting sick with West Nile Virus?
People over the age of 50 or with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop serious symptoms if they get sick. Anyone outdoors is at risk if they’re not protected.
What is Panhandle Health District doing about West Nile Virus?
PHD investigates suspect cases in the five northern counties and investigates complaints about standing water. PHD also is happy to answer the public’s question’s regarding West Nile Virus.
Has West Nile Virus reached northern Idaho?
Mosquitoes and horses in North Idaho have tested positive for West Nile Virus in the past. In 2017, the first locally-acquired human case of West Nile Virus was identified. West Nile Virus now appears to be present throughout North Idaho
Here are links to more information on West Nile Virus:
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Idaho Fish and Game