Southeast Idaho has a confirmed report of West Nile Virus, but there are steps you can take to fight the bite.
Some of the mosquitoes buzzing around in the air could be carriers of West Nile Virus.
“We know it’s here. It’s just a matter of time when it’s going to show itself,? Health Department epidemiologist Jeff Doerr said.
With the summer’s flooding, much of southeast Idaho became a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.
“They are always going to be there. We just try to keep them to a level where people can still go outside and enjoy, go sit out on the deck in the evening, have a barbecue and not get eaten alive and carried away,? Bannock County Mosquito Abatement Supervisor David Herter said.
One person in the region has been confirmed with West Nile so far.
“But imagine without those districts in place how much more that could have been and how many more people probably could have got it,? Herter said.
Taking precautions to avoid getting bit could be what makes the difference between this report of West Nile being an isolated case, or becoming a more widespread problem.
“It’s very possible that we can still see more people with West Nile this season,? Herter said.
West Nile Virus is a disease that has the potential to be deadly. In 2006 the state saw more than a thousand cases and 23 deaths, but many don’t even notice the disease.
“The vast majority of people, about 80 percent of people, if they’re bit by an infected mosquito, they aren’t going to show signs or symptoms,? Doerr said.
In some ways, the Health Department said, finding this one confirmed case of West Nile Virus could actually be a good thing.
“Having one case within the district, that just kind of raises peoples awareness,? Doerr said.
Experts ask everyone to take some precautions.
“West Nile is here. It’s not going anywhere. We’re going to see it for many years, so use your repellents, drain your standing water, fix those screens that are torn,? Herter said.
In preparation for the Eastern Idaho State Fair, Bingham County has done border spraying around the fairgrounds this week to keep mosquito levels low.