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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

West Nile Virus detected in Grant County

Mosquitos are sorted at the Dallas County mosquito lab in Dallas, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012. A mosquito sample collected west of Moses Lake has tested positive for West Nile Virus. (LM Otero / Associated Press)
Tribune News Service

MOSES LAKE – A mosquito sample collected west of Moses Lake has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV).

The positive sample, which was collected by Grant County Mosquito Control District No. 1, is the first detection of WNV in Grant County this season. The positive sample indicates the virus is present in the greater Moses Lake area and could potentially be in other locations around Grant County, according to the Grant County Health District. The first detection of WNV in Washington was identified about a month ago in Yakima County.

Last year’s mosquito season was the most active in Grant County since the virus was first detected in the county about a decade ago, with four humans, seven horses and 107 mosquito samples testing positive for WNV. There have been no human or animal cases of WNV in 2016, but the detection of the virus in the local mosquito population indicates there could be a potential for it to spread to humans and other at-risk species.

“The presence of WNV in local mosquitoes is a sign that our residents and guests can be infected, therefore we all need to take steps to prevent mosquito bites,” GCHD Environmental Health Specialist Amber McCoy said.

Most people who become infected by WNV do not get sick and one in five people will have mild symptoms, such as fever, headache and body aches. One in 150 people who are infected with the virus suffer from severe symptoms, which include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis, and coma. The health district urges people to contact their healthcare provide if they suspect they have been infected by the virus.

The health district encourages people to take the following steps to prevent mosquito bites and reduce locations where mosquitoes can breed:

– Stay indoors at dawn and dusk, which is when mosquitoes are the most active.

– Wear long sleeved shirts, long pants and a hat when going into mosquito-infested areas.

– Use mosquito repellent.

– Make sure windows are closed tight and screens are in good shape.

– Empty or discard anything that holds standing water at least twice a week.

– Make sure roof gutters are properly drained.

–Clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall and fix leaky outdoor faucets and sprinklers.

Locals are asked to contact the GCHD at 509-766-7960 if they see dead crows, ravens, magpies, jays, and raptors, as they could have been infected and died from WNV. In addition to birds, horses are at risk for the virus as well, with many horses dying after being infected or ending up being euthanized. Horse owners are encouraged to keep their horses up to date on all of their vaccinations.

For more information on WNV in Washingtion visit