OKANOGAN – Okanogan County Public Health is investigating a suspected case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in an Okanogan County resident, the first human case found in the county if confirmed.
“This would be the first human case if tests confirm it. Last year we had three horses that tested positive, but this would be the first human case,” said Lauri Jones, Community Health Director with Okanogan County Public Health.
Confirmatory testing is being conducted, and if testing confirms WNV, this information will be posted on the Washington State Department of Health website at: www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/IllnessandDisease/WestNileVirus.
“As a reminder, WNV has been circulating in Eastern Washington this year,” said Jones.
The Washington State Department of Health has reported that so far in 2017 there have been 10 humans who have contracted the West Nile Virus, six who acquired it in the state and four from out of state. Seven of the human cases were in Spokane County. In addition WNV has been found in nine horses in the state and four birds, as well as 34 mosquito samples. Fourteen of those mosquito samples were found in Grant County, 10 in Yakima County and nine in Benton County.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control states that “West Nile is a virus most commonly spread to people by mosquito bites. In North America, cases of West Nile virus occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall. WNV cases have been reported in all of the continental United States. There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV. Fortunately, most people infected with WNV do not have symptoms. About one in five people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About one out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness. You can reduce your risk of WNV by using insect repellant and wearing protective clothing to prevent mosquito bites.”