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West Nile is here! West Nile is here!


After the hysteria that swept the nation concerning the West Nile Virus-enemy of freedom, scourge of America-Treasure Valley mosquitoes have tested positive for the first time, at Wilson Springs Ponds in Nampa. Three non-fatal human cases were confirmed in Idaho last year, but the Idaho Department of Health says more are likely this year.

Because the mosquito problem is so severe in Idaho (Hear that buzzing? It's sarcasm.), officials recommend that everyone wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, stay indoors during peak mosquito hours and use an insect repellent containing DEET-although 80 percent of people exposed to the virus never develop symptoms. The other 20 percent may develop minor flu-like symptoms including fever, headache, body ache and skin rashes.

The U.S. has had nearly 15,000 West Nile cases, 594 of them fatal, a 3.9 percent fatality rate among reported cases. According to a recent Centers for Disease Control Study, only one in 33 fatalities will happen to a patient under 68 years old. Compared to the annual influenza season's fatality rate of 17.5 percent of all hospitalized patients, we're talking small change. Worry about this too much, and you're letting the annoying little terrorists win.