Walla Walla Department of Community Health officials said Friday, July 9, that West Nile virus has been detected in two more mosquitoes in the Burbank area.
While mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus can spread the infection to humans, most people infected with the virus do not get sick. About one in five will develop a fever or other symptoms that go away without medical treatment, said Bryce Heuett, communications coordinator for the Department of Community Health.
In 2020 two people in Washington became infected with West Nile virus. For a small number of people, such infection can lead to permanent neurological effects or death. People over age 60 and those with certain medical conditions are most at risk of severe disease, Heuett said.
People should avoid areas that can attract mosquitoes and eliminate standing water where mosquitoes may breed.
Simple precautions include:
- Use an effective, EPA-registered insect repellent.
- Wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors.
- Limit time outside from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
- Mosquito-proof your home by installing or repairing screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes outside.
- Eliminate mosquito-breeding areas by disposing of standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires and birdbaths.
West Nile virus is often detected in birds, especially crows and jays. Some infected birds die from the infection, according to the CDC, thus reporting and testing of dead birds is one way to check for the presence of the illness in the area.
The virus is a notifiable condition. Local cases are reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.