The Twin Falls County Pest Abatement District has collected at least one mosquito carrying West Nile virus in a trap along the Jerome and Twin Falls county border. Health officials are warning residents to act now to avoid catching the disease.

“Overall, mosquito trap numbers in the county are low,” Pest Abatement District Manager Brian Simper said in a press release. “But this positive [test result] serves as a good reminder that West Nile virus is out there, and the public can take steps to reduce mosquito habitat and avoid mosquitoes when they are most active at dusk and dawn.”

Public health officials remind residents that there are many measures they can take to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Those include using insect repellent with an EPA-registered active ingredient like DEET, especially at dawn and dusk when virus-carrying mosquitoes are most active, wearing loose-fitting clothes with long sleeves and pants, installing screens on windows and doors and draining any standing water surrounding their home—such as clogged rain gutters, pools, bird baths and old tires—every three to six days.

Typical symptoms of West Nile virus include fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea and rash. People over 50 with medical conditions are at greater risk for serious illness from the virus. More severe infections may involve the central nervous system.

“West Nile virus can be nasty and, in some cases, lead to deadly complications,” said Logan Hudson, nurse program manager at the South Central Public Health District. “When the Pest Abatement District warns us about a trapped mosquito carrying the disease, we know it’s possible West Nile could spread quickly through south-central Idaho. Preventing mosquito bites may be a hassle, but it’s worth it.”

For more information on West Nile virus, visit the CDC website at cdc.gov/westnile.

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