By Brandon Cline

West Nile virus creeping closer to county


The West Nile virus carried by mosquitoes has been detected in Yakima County for the first time in 2017, according to the Benton County Mosquito Control District (BCMCD).

“For the first time this season we have confirmed West Nile virus in our mosquito samples,” said the BCMCD in a Facebook post on June 29. “The mosquitoes were collected south of the Yakima River near Grandview. We have treated the area, and will continue to monitor it.”

Nine cases of the West Nile virus in Washington state were reported in people in 2016. According to the BCMCD, about one in 150 people infected with the West Nile virus will develop serious illness.

Since the announcement, Benton County officials have begun using an insecticide called larvicide to target mosquitoes in their larval stage. Killing the larvae prevents the mosquitoes from becoming adults and spreading the virus.

According to the BCMCD, severe symptoms of the West Nile virus can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms can last for several weeks, and neurological effects can be permanent.

About 20 percent of people infected with the virus will experience milder symptoms. Those symptoms include fever, headaches, body aches, nausea and vomiting. Some people will also have swollen lymph glands or a rash on the chest, stomach and back. These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to a few months.

Roughly 80 percent of those who contract the virus will not show any symptoms at all. Anyone can become infected with the virus, but those aged 50 and older are at higher risk to develop serious illnesses. Risks of contracting the virus through medical procedures is very low.

The Yakima Health District recommends using Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants when outdoors, and avoid being outdoors between dusk and dawn, which is considered a prime time for mosquitos. It is also recommended that you repair screens that have tears or holes, as well as vaccinating horses against the West Nile virus. Eliminating standing water will also help in efforts to not attract mosquitos.

If you have any other questions or concerns about mosquitoes or the West Nile virus, visit


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