Louisiana, Mississippi top nation in worst West Nile illness

Posted August 26, 2018

The DHS Division of Public Health will continue surveillance for West Nile virus until the end of the mosquito season. Since the beginning of 2018, four cases of that encephalitis virus infection in horses, and one outbreak in emus were reported in the county. Avoid being outside at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active if possible. You should wear loose-fitting and long-sleeved clothing. Use mosquito repellents containing DEET, making sure to follow the directions on the container. A total of 10,240 acres are to be targeted in areas east of Hermiston The target area includes the Diagonal Road area between Townsend Road and the Hwy 730 Junction, and portions of the Loop Road area.

West Nile is primarily a bird disease, and some birds, including magpies, blue jays and crows are especially susceptible. "So, the type of mosquitoes that we are concerned about with West Nile are the Culex mosquitoes", said Andy Tyler, Regional Epidemiologist, Mesa County Public Health Department. Agriculture officials say the spread of the virus in horses can be prevented with proper vaccination.

Residents need to take basic precautions to protect themselves from mosquito bites, including draining water from garbage cans, gutters or any other containers where sprinkler or rain water has collected.

Most people bitten by an infected mosquito will have no symptoms, while about 20 percent develop a mild flu-like illness. "And it's the major problem with West Nile", he added.

St. John's Riverside Hospital Dr. Paul Sasso knows the symptoms of West Nile on a more personal level, as his father contracted it last summer.