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West Nile-Positive Mosquitoes Detected in Star


West Nile Virus has been detected in a Star-area mosquito pool. They are the first virus-positive mosquitoes to be detected in Ada County in 2019, according to Ada County Weed, Pest, and Mosquito Abatement.

In July and early August, West Nile had been found in pools in Canyon County, but on Aug. 7, ACWPMA said it had found mosquitoes in pools along the Boise River near Star that carried the disease. In response, there have been truck-mounted abatement treatments in the area to prevent mosquitoes from spreading the disease in humans.

The detection comes somewhat later in the season than it did in 2018, when it was found in a pool on Aug. 1. According to Adam Schroeder, director of the abatement district, environmental factors and efforts on the part of the district have been major players in slowing the spread of the disease into Ada County.

"I think it's unusual in the sense that we had West Nile in the surrounding counties for a considerable time before we had a detection in Ada County," he said.

Schroeder said flooding in 2017 promoted the spread of West Nile. That year, 73 pools tested positive for the disease. Last year and this year, he said comparatively dry conditions have contributed to fewer pools testing positive.

West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne disease that produces no symptoms in most people who contract it. Approximately one in five people develop a fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, diarrhea and a rash, and while most people affected recover, fatigue can last for months. One in 150 people who contract the disease can suffer from neurological symptoms that may be permanent.

Prevention strategies include draining standing water where mosquitoes breed, using bug spray, wearing long-sleeved, light-colored clothing and ensuring that screen doors are closed and in good condition.