TRI-CITIES, Wash. – Heather Hill, Communicable Disease Manager with the Benton Franklin Health District says the somewhat warmer than average fall temperatures give mosquitoes a little more time to bite before they go dormant.
While it’s unusual to see cases of West Nile this late in the year, it’s still something to look out for.
“With the weather that we’ve been having mosquito activity is still happening and so people are still continuing to be put at risk for West Nile virus,” she said.
You may not even know if you have the virus with 70%-80% of people who contract it being asymptomatic according to the CDC.
The other percentage of people who get sick often experience normal virus symptoms like a fever or headaches according to Hill.
The CDC’s website also says less than 1% of people who get the virus end up getting severe symptoms.
“Those are the people that need to go to the emergency room, go into the hospital and have supportive care,” Hill said. “Most people do survive West Nile Virus but there is the rare occasion people can actually die from the virus.”
That’s why she says BFHD still recommends taking precautions when you go into areas that have mosquitoes with insect repellent and clothes that cover the skin to help avoid exposure.
She said the best thing you can do right now to reduce chances as mosquitos start to go dormant for the winter is to remove mosquito habitat around your home.
“They can breed in something as simple as the dish that’s under your potted plant that has a little bit of water in it,” Hill said.