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News / Northwest

West Nile virus found in 3 E. Washington towns

By Annette Cary, Tri-City Herald (Kennewick)
Published: August 15, 2023, 7:47pm

The Benton County area is having its worst year for West Nile virus since 2009, says the Benton County Mosquito Control District.

On Tuesday it said that it had now trapped mosquitoes in 20 locations in Benton and eastern Yakima counties. Eight of those locations had their first infected mosquitoes found last week.

The Franklin County Mosquito Control District also has been trapping mosquitoes and has found no West Nile virus so far this year.

But the district expects that some positive mosquitoes will be found by the end of the season.

Mosquitoes infected with the virus have been found only in three Washington counties so far this year — Benton, Grant and Yakima counties, all east of the Cascade Mountains.

The Washington Department of Health also tracks cases in people, birds and horses, with no cases reported so far this year.

Infected mosquitoes have been found this year in two areas of Kennewick. They include a portion in or near Columbia Park in the area of North Edison Street and also an area between 10th Avenue and West 27th Avenue that includes the Zintel Canyon Greenway and the neighborhoods to the east.

In Richland infected mosquitoes were found most recently in the area of the Meadow Springs Country Club and Claybell Park or the neighborhoods just to the east.

They are in addition to infected mosquitoes in south Richland south of Hills West between Safeway and the Badger Mountain Trailhead.

In West Richland infected mosquitoes have been found in three areas. They include areas along the Yakima River, including to the north and south of Bridge Road, and in the area of Twin Bridges Road.

The third area in West Richland is to the southeast, including areas to the east and west of South 38th Avenue.

Because many mosquito traps are on private property, the Benton District releases neighborhoods where infected mosquitoes were trapped rather than exact addresses.

Other locations where infected mosquitoes were found in the district are at least a mile west of Prosser and near Grandview, Mabton and Sunnyside.

The Benton County Mosquito Control District is urging caution to prevent mosquito bites and advising the use of mosquito repellents approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. Approved ingredients include DEET, picaridin, PMD, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus.

“The use of a personal repellent is an individual decision. However, a repellent is the best line of personal defense against mosquito bites and potential virus exposure,” says Kevin Shoemaker, assistant manager of the district.