GEM COUNTY -- Southwest District Health officials say mosquitoes collected in a trap in the Montour area of Gem County have tested positive for the West Nile virus. They are urging residents to take precautions.
"Anyone that is bitten by an infected mosquito is at risk for the West Nile virus," said David Loper, Division Director of Environmental Health Services for Southwest District Health. "While most people infected with West Nile do not show symptoms, we encourage anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms to consult with their medical provider."
People with symptoms of West Nile may experience fever, headaches, body aches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, eye pain, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash typically occurring 2 to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. The virus can cause severe illness, especially in people over the age of 50.
"Enjoying the outdoors is one of the benefits of living in Idaho. We can still enjoy gardening, fishing, camping, or evening walks by taking some simple steps to minimize the risk of mosquito bites and reducing mosquito habitat around our home or work," Loper said.
If possible, avoid outdoor activities at dawn or dusk when mosquitoes are most active and feeding. When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient, such as DEET or Picaridin. Parents are advised not to apply repellent that contains more than 10 percent DEET on their children.
- If you must be outside at dawn or dusk, dress appropriately by wearing long sleeves, pants, and loose-fitting clothing.
- Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out. Also consider using mosquito netting on infant carriers.
- Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by draining standing water from flower pots, buckets, and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths and watering troughs at least twice weekly. 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.
- Get your horses vaccinated.