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West Nile Virus

What is West Nile Virus (WNV)?WNV Logo
West Nile Virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause serious illness. People and animals contract the disease from the infected mosquitoes. At this time, there is no human vaccine for the disease. Most people bitten by an infected mosquito do not become ill. However, some may experience a mild fever, headaches, and body aches. Some people will develop more serious symptoms such as inflammation of the brain or paralysis. In severe cases, WNV can lead to death. People of any age can contact the virus, but the illness can be more serious for people over the age of 50.

Is West Nile Virus in Idaho?
Locally-acquired mosquito-borne human infections were first recorded in Idaho in 2004. In 2006, Idaho led the nation in reports of human illness associated with WNV with 996 cases being reported to the state health department, including 23 WNV-related deaths. The disease was discovered in 38 of Idaho's 44 counties.West Nile virus is here to stay in Idaho.

For a map of WNV activity in Idaho, visit www.westnile.idaho.gov.

What can You Do to Protect Yourself from WNV?
It's important for people to protect themselves from contracting this potentially dangerous virus by:

  • Covering up exposed skin when outdoors;

  • Applying insect repellant approved by the EPA to exposed skin and clothing. Follow instructions on the product label, especially for children;

  • Avoid mosquitoes when they are most active at dawn and dusk;

  • Insect-proof your home by repairing or replacing screens; and

  • Reduce or eliminate standing water on your property that might provide breeding habitat for mosquitoes such as bird baths and decorative ponds.

WNV Educational Materials

Where Can I Get More Information?
For more information about West Nile Virus, please contact:

Infectious Disease Program
Eastern Idaho Public Health
1250 Hollipark Drive
Idaho Falls, ID 83401
208-533-3152

Additional information about West Nile Virus may also be found at

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - West Nile Virus

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