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West Nile Virus Confirmed In SE Idaho

The first West Nile virus of the 2011 season has been confirmed, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare spokeswoman Emily Simnitt said.

A man in his 50s was hospitalized in southeast Idaho last week with a West Nile virus infection, Simnitt said.

Also, the Gem County Mosquito Abatement District recently reported a positive test for the virus in mosquitoes collected from the Emmett area.

The department said West Nile virus is usually contracted from the bite of an infected mosquito; it is not spread from person-to-person through casual contact.

Symptoms of infection often include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. In some cases, the virus can cause severe illness, especially in people over the age of 50.

Last year, three Idahoans were reported with West Nile virus. In 2006, Idaho led the nation in West Nile illnesses with almost 1,000 infections, which contributed to 23 deaths.

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