PARMA -- Warm weather and the onset of summer in the Treasure Valley means pool days, barbecues, camping - and the return of warnings about West Nile Virus.
Officials in Canyon County announced Tuesday that the mosquitoes collected near Parma have tested positive for the virus, the first such positive reading this year.
According to Canyon County Mosquito Abatement District Director Ed Burnett, the infected insects were collected Friday off of Hexon Road and Scott Pitt Road, near the Fort Boise Wildlife Management Area. The samples were sent to the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories, which confirmed the positive test Monday.
Burnett said this was among the earliest detection dates since 2006, when a West Nile outbreak sickened nearly 1,000 Idahoans, killing 23 of them. One hundred eighty of the human cases that year were in Canyon County.
But Burnett stressed that the early detection does not necessarily spell a disastrous season for the disease.
"It's a little concerning, yes, but it's really too early to tell," he said.
The positive tests were a little surprising because temperatures in the Treasure Valley have not been that high recently, he said. Typically, mosquitoes thrive in very hot weather.
The abatement district conducted "fogging" in the area Friday night, with another round planned for Tuesday night. Crews have also been working on larvacidal operations in the area over the past two days, with follow-up trapping to assess the results planned for later in the week.
Mosquito abatement officials are warning residents to protect themselves against West Nile, as temperatures heat up and mosquito populations increase. Burnett urged people to follow the "7 D's" to avoid infection:
• DRAIN any standing water on your property that may cause mosquitos and remember do not
• DAWN and DUSK are times to avoid outdoors.
• DRESS appropriately by wearing long sleeve shirts and long pants when outdoors.
• DEFEND yourself against mosquitoes by using an insect repellant.
• DOOR and window screens should be in good conditions to prevent mosquitos from entering
• DISTRICT personnel are here to help address mosquito problems that you may be experiencing.
For more information about West Nile Virus, click here.