Area mosquitoes test positive for West Nile

Insect repellent with DEET and picaridin is what experts recommend to protect from West Nile virus

BENTON COUNTY, Wash. - It's summertime! While that means cookouts and outdoor fun, it also means mosquito season.

This week the Benton County Mosquito Control found a pool of mosquitos that tested positive for West Nile virus. This doesn't mean we can't spend time outside; it just means we should take precautions to keep ourselves from being at risk.

"Some people think that mosquitos love them, they may be right,” said Dr. Amy Person, health officer at the Benton-Franklin County Health District.

Mosquitos with the ability to carry diseases like West Nile virus love a warm dry climate like ours here in the Tri-Cities.

"We deal with West Nile virus every year, so it's kind of a routine with us from the beginning of the season,” said Angela Beehler, district manager of Benton County Mosquito Control. “We start looking in February and then most of our crew comes on in April."

The Benton County Mosquito Control traps and tests groups of mosquitos for West Nile virus. This week they got their first positive reading.

"Once we see mosquitos test positive for West Nile virus it’s going to be a concern until we get to our first hard frost, Person said.

Mosquito Control said the positive mosquitoes were found in West Richland, but they're warning the entire community to take precautions.

"West Nile virus is now active in the area for this season so mosquitoes are going to transmit that to the birds and birds are going to carry it from place to place, Beehler said.

A vaccine is available for horses, but there is no vaccine available for humans, Beehler said.

"We just want to make sure that people are aware that it's here. Take precautions. Wear mosquito repellent, long sleeves, long pants, when possible loose-fitting clothing and empty the standing water around their property all those things are really important,” Beehler said.

According to mosquito control only one in 150 people bit by a mosquito carrying West Nile virus will show severe symptoms, but it's still important to take precautions this time of year.

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