Franklin County woman tests positive for West Nile virus
Last updated 8/9/2021 at 4:53pm
KENNEWICK — A Franklin County woman is the first to be infected with West Nile virus this summer in the area.
The woman, in her 50s, lives in Franklin County, but works in Benton County and has traveled to Walla Wall, Benton Franklin Health District officials said.
The virus was detected during routine screening when she went to donate blood, officials said. She didn't have any symptoms.
“Most cases of West Nile virus are mild,” Benton Franklin Heath Officer Dr. Amy Person said. “However, serious illness and death are also possible. That’s why we urge people to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and to contact their health care provider if they develop symptoms.”
Most people infected with West Nile virus won’t get sick, the health district reported. About one in five people infected with the virus will develop a fever and other symptoms such as a headache or body aches.
However, West Nile virus infection can be very serious, officials said, noting it can result in encephalitis, meningitis or other complications in about one out of 150 cases. In some cases, it can be fatal.
West Nile virus primarily causes infections in birds, but can spread to people and other animals through mosquito bites.
The isn't a vaccine for people, but there is for infected horses, officials said.