No West Nile virus cases this year

Nov 17, 2011

The West Nile virus season is over, and the state Department of Health reports there were no human cases of the disease in Washington this year, nor were any birds or horses found to be infected.

The illness is spread by mosquitos. Only five mosquito samples tested positive for the disease this year, compared to 126 in 2010. The positive samples came from Franklin, Grant and Yakima counties.

Although the disease didn’t cause any problems this year, health officials warn the West Nile virus is here to stay. The key is to reduce stagnant water, which is prime mosquito habitat.

Around the house, you should dump water out of flower pots, wheel barrows and tires, and keep your gutters clean. Also be sure to prevent protective tarps (covering lawn furniture, firewood, etc.) from holding rainwater. 

State health officials say mosquito larvae can survive freezing temperatures, so cutting down on their habitat during the winter will help "Fight the Bite" this spring.