Eight confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in Idaho

LEWISTON, ID - The West Nile Virus has become a growing problem around the nation as the number of people infected with the virus continues to increase.

According to Public Health Idaho North Central District, eight cases of acute West Nile Virus have been reported this year in Idaho. At this time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting the highest number of cases nationally since the disease was first detected in 1999.

"It's been in Washington, it's been in the surrounding states, and it's in Idaho just to the south of us," said Public Health Idaho North Central District Health Environmental Health Director Ed Marugg. "I always like to assume that it is here and that's what people should plan for."

The West Nile Virus is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito and can lead to serious illness, especially in people over the age of 50. It's not spread from person-to-person or from infected animals to people.

Public Health officials encourage everyone to use insect repellents and cover up when outdoors. It's also important to make sure there's no standing water around your home, where mosquitoes can breed.