West Nile Virus Found in Humans and Horses in 4 WA Counties
The Washington State Department of Health has confirmed cases of West Nile in humans and horses.
Two cases of West Nile Virus were confirmed in residents from Walla Walla and Franklin Counties. Both people were diagnosed within the past week and most likely both were exposed in their counties. Two horses were also found with West Nile in Benton and Grant Counties.
People are advised to avoid mosquito bites. If you develop symptoms, contact your health provider right away. 1 in 5 people will develop fever, and other symptoms, including headaches, body aches, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people and animals who ae bitten by infected mosquitos NEVER develop any symptoms.
“Most cases of West Nile virus are mild. However, serious illness and death are also possible. That’s why we urge people to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and to contact their healthcare provider if they develop symptoms," said Dr. Amy Person, WA DOH Regional Medical Officer - Benton-Franklin Health District.
Most people recover completely. However, fatigue can last for weeks, possibly months. Serious illness occurs in less than 1 in 100 people infected with West Nile Virus. The risk of severe infection is highest for people 60 and older, and for people with certain medical conditions.
Horses can be be vaccinated for the virus, but there is no vaccine available for people.
When spending time in areas with mosquitos, use EPA-registered insect repellent. Use screens on windows and doors. Keep mosquitos outside. Stay inside at dusk and dawn. Cover up. Wear long pants long sleeve shirt, and a hat when in areas with mosquitos.
Learn more about West Nile Virus and how to protect yourself here.