PASCO — The first West Nile virus in Washington state this year has been found in mosquitoes about five miles west of Pasco, says the Washington state Department of Health.
The virus was detected in mosquitoes collected at Burbank in Walla Walla County.
West Nile virus season can start as early as July in Washington and can last until early October.
In 2020 a Benton County man and a Yakima County man were infected with the virus, down from five residents of Washington state, all in Benton County, the year before.
In addition, horses in Franklin and Klickitat counties were infected in 2019.
About 80% of people infected with the virus do not get sick, but for a few people it can lead to permanent neurologic effects or death.
People 60 and older and those with certain medical diseases are most at risk of severe disease from the virus, which can be spread to people through a mosquito bite.
Symptoms of West Nile virus infection can include fever with headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Fatigue and weakness may last for weeks or months.
To protect against mosquito bites, the Department of Health recommends:
- Using an insect repellent registered with the Environmental Protection Agency, such as DEET, picardin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
- Limiting time outside from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are most active and wearing long sleeves, long pants and socks.
- Eliminating mosquito-breeding areas by disposing of standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires and birdbaths.
- Installing or repairing screens on windows and doors.