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West Nile Information

Washington State

Department of Health


When dealing with West Nile virus;
Prevention is your best protection.

Fighting mosquito bites reduces your risk of getting infected with West Nile virus, along with other diseases that mosquitoes may carry.
Take the three steps below to reduce your risk:

  • avoid bites and illness
  • clean out the mosquitoes from the places where you work, live, and play
  • help our community monitor and prevent the disease


  Avoid Mosquito Bites

http://www.bfhd.wa.gov/img/eh/check%20mark.pngBe Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours
The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many species of mosquitoes. Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing during evening and early morning -- or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times. If possible, stay inside when mosquitoes are biting.

http://www.bfhd.wa.gov/img/eh/check%20mark.pngKeep Your Skin Covered
Light-colored, long-sleeves, long pants and socks can help prevent mosquito bites. Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with insect repellent will give extra protection. Do not spray repellent on the skin under your clothing.


http://www.bfhd.wa.gov/img/eh/check%20mark.pngUse Insect Repellent
Even a short time outdoors can be long enough to get a mosquito bite.  Apply insect repellent on exposed skin when you go outdoors. Use an EPA-registered insect repellent such as those with DEET, IR 3535, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.  Only adults should apply repellent to children.  Be sure to wash your hands before you eat and wash the repellent off when you come inside.

For details on when and how to apply repellent, see Insect Repellent Use and Safety from the CDC website.

Read the Insect Repellent brochure from the Benton-Franklin Health District.

http://www.bfhd.wa.gov/img/eh/check%20mark.pngVaccinate Horses
A vaccine is available to protect horses from infection.  Talk with your veterinarian for more information. 

Information on WNV and horses is also available from the Washington Department of Agriculture website. 




Apply insect repellent on exposed skin when you go outdoors.

  Mosquito-Proof Your Area

http://www.bfhd.wa.gov/img/eh/check%20mark.pngDrain Standing Water
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water.  Some mosquitoes can grow from the egg stage to a biting adult within one week, especially during the hot summer temperatures.  Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by getting rid of items that hold water.

  • At least once a week, empty water from flower pots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels, and cans.
  • Check for clogged rain gutters and clean them out.
  • Remove discarded tires, and other items that could collect water.
  • Be sure to check for containers or trash in places that may be hard to see, such as under bushes or under your home.

http://www.bfhd.wa.gov/img/eh/check%20mark.pngInstall or Repair Screens
Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having well-fitting screens on both windows and doors.


http://www.bfhd.wa.gov/img/eh/check%20mark.pngMosquito Control Programs
There are two organized mosquito control programs in the Benton and Franklin Counties that serve their representative counties. 

  Help Our Community

http://www.bfhd.wa.gov/img/eh/check%20mark.pngClean Up the Neighborhood
Mosquitoes can breed in many different types standing water.  Neighborhood clean up days can be organized by civic or youth organizations to pick up water-holding containers from vacant lots and parks, and to encourage people to keep their yards free of standing water. 

Only crows, magpies, ravens, and raptors are submitted for West Nile Virus testing.  Raven photo by Kelly McAllister.  Image courtesy of WDFW.

  West Nile Virus and Your Health

http://www.bfhd.wa.gov/img/eh/check%20mark.pngWest Nile Virus and Your Health
In an area with West Nile virus, an estimated 1% of the mosquitoes will be able to transmit the virus to people. Although the likelihood of becoming infected with West Nile virus is quite small, the infection can cause serious illness that may last from a few days to months, or longer. The symptoms of West Nile virus infection range from relatively mild to severe, including neurological disorders and death.

Symptoms generally appear about 3-15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The more common mild illness has the following symptoms:

  • Slight fever
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Swollen glands
  • Sometimes a skin rash

The severe form of the illness is usually found in people over 50 years of age and has the following symptoms:

  • High fever
  • Intense headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Confusion


Anyone who may be ill from West Nile virus should see their health provider as soon as possible. Supportive treatment is available for the more serious cases.

Additional health information is available from the CDC.

  Additional Resources

http://www.bfhd.wa.gov/img/eh/check%20mark.pngMosquito Control Programs
There are two organized mosquito control programs in the Benton and Franklin Counties that serve their representative counties. 

http://www.bfhd.wa.gov/img/eh/check%20mark.pngStatus in Washington
Current status is available from the Washington State Department of Health.

http://www.bfhd.wa.gov/img/eh/check%20mark.pngEducational Materials
Several handouts and posters are available in multiple languages from the Washington State Department of Health Zoonotic Program.

http://www.bfhd.wa.gov/img/eh/check%20mark.pngWorld Wide Web Links


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Benton Franklin Health District
7102 W Okanogan Pl
Kennewick WA
(509) 460 4200
412 W Clark
Pasco WA
(509) 547-9737

Emergency Contact Information

Personal Emergency for Medical, Police, Fire, or Other: 911
Washington Poison Center: 1 (800) 222-1222 (www.wapc.org)
Washington Community Resource Information: 211 (www.win211.org)
BFHD Public Health Emergency/Imminent Health Hazard After-Hours Reporting: 509-543-3851
The public can reference BFHD policies available in Kennewick office.
BFHD Privacy Statement:English / Spanish
Copies of the annual report available at all BFHD offices.
State and County Resources
Rules and Regulations Administered by or Governing the Benton-Franklin Health District
WAC's - RCW's
Community Health Status Indicators
Reportable Conditions
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