MONTPELIER – While COVID-19 is stealing the spotlight for infectious diseases, Southeastern Idaho Public Health (SIPH) officials have confirmed identification of the first ever West Nile Virus (WNV) positive mosquito pool in Bear Lake County.
The mosquito was located on the south end of the county close to the Utah-Idaho border, on the west side of the Bear Lake.
This is the first WNV-positive mosquito pool in SIPH’s eight counties for 2021.
Rex Davis, the Logan City Forester, oversees Logan’s mosquito abatement. He wanted to reassure the public they are still analyzing trapped mosquitos in Cache Valley.
“We are still actively trapping mosquitos,” Davis said. “Luckily, we have not found any yet this year.”
The abatement district started surveillance on June 1 throughout the district and fogging began Monday, June 7.
The bite of Culex species of mosquito is the main cause of spreading West Nile Virus traditionally, and August and September are peak times for WNV mosquito activity.
The Abatement District wants to remind residents that while being outside during the hours from dusk to dawn to “Fight the Bite.” Wear pants and long-sleeved shirts and use a CDC-approved mosquito repellant such as DEET for personal protection is recommended.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has a dedicated site with current information on Zika travel alerts, precautions, latest research, and more; go to https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/index.html
West Nile can be a serious illness that is usually spread to animals and humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people infected with West Nile do not show symptoms, but more severe illness may occur. People with symptoms may experience fever, headaches, body aches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, eye pain, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash typically occurring two to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. More severe infections may involve the central nervous system.
The Southeast Idaho Health Department suggests ways to reduce the risk for WNV, with the following precautions taken:
- When outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient, such as DEET or Picaridin (apply it according to manufacturers’ instructions.) In addition, certain products which contain permethrin are recommended for use on clothing, shoes, bed nets, and camping gear. Follow the directions on the package.
- Use insect repellent and wear long sleeves, pants, and loose-fitting clothing at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active and feeding. If possible, consider staying indoors during these hours.
- Make sure to have good screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
- Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by draining standing water from flowerpots, buckets, and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths and feeding troughs, at least twice a week. Drill holes in tire swings or old tires so water drains out. Keep children’s wading pools empty or on their sides when not in use.
- Don’t over-irrigate your lawns, gardens, or pastures.