West Nile Virus found in Franklin County mosquitoes

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The Washington state Department of Health today confirmed the year’s first case of a positive West Nile test was found in Franklin County.

Mosquito samples collected in Franklin County tested positive for the disease, the first sign that the virus is active in the state this season since mosquito and dead bird testing began last month.

Testing will continue until fall when mosquito season ends.

Health officials said in a news release most people bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus won’t become ill while some may have mild symptoms including headache and fever that go away without treatment.

However, West Nile virus infection can be serious or fatal, officials added. Severe disease may include meningitis or encephalitis. Some neurological effects of the disease may be permanent.

Yakima, Spokane, Benton, Franklin and Grant counties had mosquito samples that tested positive for the virus last year. One resident of the state became ill from the virus, but that person was exposed to the virus while traveling outside the state. The mosquito season with the most human cases Washington was 2009, when 38 people became ill.

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