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West Nile in Owyhee County

An Owyhee County man in his late teens has tested positive for West Nile virus, the first probable West Nile infection in the county this year. The man – the third human case reported in the state this year – has been treated and has returned to work, the state Department of Health and Welfare said.

Five Idaho counties in the southern part of the state have reported West Nile activity this year. Last year, the virus was discovered in 38 Idaho counties, infecting 1,000 people and contributing to the deaths of 23. Idaho led the nation in West Nile human infections, accounting for almost one-quarter of all human infection reports.

West Nile virus is usually spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. To protect themselves, people are advised to should cover exposed skin when outdoors and apply DEET or other EPA-approved insect repellent to bare skin and clothing, state health officials advise.

Other precautions include repairing or replacing torn window and door screens as well as reducing standing water around homes, such as bird baths and decorative ponds. Standing water provides mosquito breeding habitat.