HAYDEN, ID – Panhandle Health District (PHD) is urging residents to be aware of mosquito-borne illnesses.
Historically, a wet and snowy winter season leads to additional snow melt and new sources of standing water during spring and summer months. These present ideal conditions for mosquito breeding grounds.
“Mosquito season has arrived in the Inland Northwest,” declared Dave Hylsky, PHD Epidemiologist. “Mosquitoes native to this region can carry and spread a variety of viruses. We are particularly concerned about a possible increase in locally-transmitted West Nile Virus cases.”
In 2016, several cases of West Nile Virus were reported in local horses which contributed to four horse deaths within the Panhandle Health District. None of these horses reported recent travel outside the Inland Northwest.
West Nile Virus (WNV) is transmitted to people, birds and other animals by the bite of an infected mosquito. WNV can cause serious illness in people of any age, but especially in people over the age of 50 or those with other underlying medical conditions.
Fight the Bite
You can “Fight the Bite” to prevent WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses by taking the following steps:
1. Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by removing standing water around your home and property.
2. Inspect window and door screens to ensure they are fitted and repaired; keeping mosquitoes outdoors.
3. Wear repellent containing DEET, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus according to the label. Consult with your physician before applying repellent on an infant.
4. Limit activity and wear long-sleeves and pants between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
There is no WNV vaccine available for people. Horse owners can take precautions and protect their animals by talking with their veterinarian about proper vaccination. Other viruses, such as Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya are primarily a concern for people who may by traveling to areas where the viruses are active. If residents plan to travel outside Idaho to more tropical locations, they are advised to review the CDC’s travel notices and warnings in advance.