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Washington Health Officials Report Year's First Cases of West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus is transmitted by mosquito.
National Park Service
West Nile Virus is transmitted by mosquito.

The first cases of West Nile virus in Washington State this year have been reported in Spokane County. 

One man in his 60s remains in the hospital, a second has been released and is recovering at home. A third infection was identified, but was likely acquired outside the state.

Last year, nine cases were reported in Washington, with one death in Benton County.

The disease spreads through mosquito bites. According to the Spokane County Health District, tests for the virus in mosquitoes, birds and horses turned up positive back in August. That’s also when health officials from north Idaho reported the disease in Kootenai County.

Symptoms include headache, fever and discomfort in the neck, muscles and joints, although the majority of cases do not display symptoms.

In Oregon, five cases of West Nile virus have been reported this year.

Copyright 2017 Northwest News Network

Emily Schwing
Emily Schwing comes to the Inland Northwest by way of Alaska, where she covered social and environmental issues with an Arctic spin as well as natural resource development, wildlife management and Alaska Native issues for nearly a decade. Her work has been heard on National Public Radio’s programs like “Morning Edition” and “All things Considered.” She has also filed for Public Radio International’s “The World,” American Public Media’s “Marketplace,” and various programs produced by the BBC and the CBC. She has also filed stories for Scientific American, Al Jazeera America and Arctic Deeply.