West Nile Virus death

West Nile virus is contracted through mosquitoes.

MOSES LAKE - A mosquito sample collected last week has tested positive for West Nile virus, the first positive sample in Grant County this season.

The positive sample was found east of Road C Southeast near the Frenchman Wasteway, west of Potholes State Park, according to Grant County Mosquito Control District 1.

“The mosquito district will continue both aerial and truck mounted ultra low volume mosquito spraying throughout the district to slow down the progression of the virus into more populated areas,” said Ann Belchik-Moser, district manager of Mosquito Control District 1, which covers the greater Moses Lake area, including the sand dunes and potholes.

This is the first detection of the virus in Grant County this year, and just the second statewide, according to the Grant County Health District. The other positive case was found in Benton County. There have not been any human or animal cases reported yet this year but the detection of the virus means there is a potential for spread of the virus to humans or other vulnerable species.

Last year, three Washington residents were diagnosed with West Nile virus, two of which were infected outside the state. No human cases were reported from Grant County, but the virus was found in 29 mosquito samples. One horse in Grant County was infected. 

West Nile virus is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the U.S. About one in five people infected will have mild symptoms such as fever, headache and body aches. Several symptoms, although rare, can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, tremors, muscle weakness, paralysis and coma, according to the health district.

Take these steps to prevent mosquito bites and reduce the places where mosquitoes live and breed around your home:

  • Stay indoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are the most active.
  • Wear a long sleeve shirt, long pants and a hat when going into mosquito-infested areas, such as wetlands or wooded areas.
  • Use mosquito repellent. Read the label and carefully follow instructions. Take special care when using repellent on children. Mosquito repellents that contain the active ingredients DEET, Picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus work best.
  • Make sure windows and doors are “bug tight” and repair or replace screens as needed.
  • Eliminate mosquito-breeding areas around your home by emptying or discarding anything that holds standing water—bottles, cans, old tires, buckets, plastic covers, and toys. Change water in birdbaths, fountains, kiddie pools, and animal troughs at least twice each week. Make sure roof gutters drain properly and clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall and fix leaky outdoor faucets and sprinklers.

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