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Spokane County mosquitoes, horses test positive for West Nile virus

UPDATED: Wed., Aug. 30, 2017, 11:04 a.m.

West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes in Spokane County. (LM Otero / AP)
West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes in Spokane County. (LM Otero / AP)

The Spokane Regional Health District confirmed West Nile virus is present in local mosquitoes Tuesday, and said five horses in the county have been sickened.

The first equine case of the mosquito-borne virus in Spokane County this year was reported earlier this month. Since then, the Washington State Public Health Zoonotic Disease Program has confirmed the virus in a mosquito sample, the health district said in a news release.

So far this year, only one Washingtonian in Pierce County has tested positive for West Nile virus, and health officials believe that person contracted the disease out of state, according to the Department of Health. Mosquitoes in Benton, Grant and Yakima counties have also tested positive for the virus.

“Eliminating all standing water where mosquitoes breed can be difficult, but during mosquito season people can afford themselves a level of protection by draining anything around the home that holds water, as well as preventing exposure to bites,” said Bob Lutz, the district’s health officer, in a news release.

Spokane’s last confirmed human case of West Nile was in August 2016.

This article was updated to correct the name of the lab that confirmed West Nile.


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