Two people from Benton, Franklin in hospital with West Nile virus
Two people from the Tri-Cities area have been diagnosed with West Nile virus, the Benton Franklin Health District announced Friday.
The two new cases were the first people in Tri-Cities to be infected and sick this year.
One is a Franklin County man in his 40s and the other is a man in his 50s from Benton County. They are both hospitalized, the district said.
The health district said in a press release that it is likely that the men contracted the disease locally.
Another woman from the Tri-Cities area was diagnosed with West Nile virus in early August as the first human case in Washington. The woman lived in Franklin County, worked in Benton County, and had visited Walla Walla County.
However, she had no symptoms and her infection was detected when she donated blood. It was found during routine screening to remove any infected blood product from the supply.
The Washington State Department of Health has only identified one other human case so far this year in Yakima County as of September 24.
The department noted that the Franklin County case, as well as that of Walla Walla, were not included in the data because both cases were found during a blood test during a blood donation.
âMost cases of West Nile virus are mild,â said Dr Amy Person, health officer for Benton and Franklin counties. âHowever, serious illness and death are also possible. That’s why we urge people to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and to contact their healthcare provider if they develop any symptoms.
Symptoms of the virus
About one in five people who infected with the virus will develop a fever and other symptoms such as headache or muscle aches.
But in about one in 150 cases, encephalitis, meningitis, or other serious complications can result.
People over the age of 60 and those with cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure or kidney disease are at greater risk for serious illness.
West Nile virus is spread to humans through mosquito bites.
Of the mosquito samples taken from Benton County, 13 were positive, as well as four from Franklin. In neighboring counties, there were 16 positive mosquito samples in Yakima, 11 in Walla Walla and seven in Grant.
Additionally, a horse from Benton County tested positive for West Nile this year.
Across Washington, there have been 51 positive mosquito samples as well as nine positive cases in horses.
There is no vaccine for humans against West Nile virus, and the health district recommends the following precautions to prevent infection:
- Drain standing water sources to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in water sources. Check containers such as old tires and buckets that may be left outside.
- Avoid being exposed at dusk and dawn, two prime hours for mosquito bites.
- If you go outside, use an EPA approved insect repellant.
- Make sure doors and windows have tight fitting screens.
- Dress with long sleeves, pants and a hat when mosquitoes are present.