Eastern Washington counties see spike in West Nile virus

Summer may be ending, but cases of the West Nile virus have been rapidly on the rise around the country.

People get infected with the virus from mosquito bites. Fortunately, our state isn’t one of the hotspots but a county east of the Cascades is finding more mosquitoes carrying West Nile than they’ve seen in the last 10 years.

According to the Seattle Times, the Benton County Mosquito Control District set mosquito traps from Benton to Yakima County and found 42 positive samples for the West Nile virus.

In July, the Yakima Health District issued a warning for the virus.

Experts believe our warmer summer temperatures, and longer warm seasons extend our exposure to mosquito bites.

The virus can be deadly to birds and in rare cases, deadly to humans. However, most people infected with West Nile either have no symptoms or mild symptoms.

Around 20% of people who get the infection can show fever and flu symptoms for a few weeks and doctors say there’s more risk with age. So although serious cases are rare, the CDC is warning us that West Nile could become a much bigger problem with more mosquitoes later in the season.

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