IDAHO LED THE NATION IN 2006 AND WAS THE HARDEST HIT AREA IN THE USA FOR WEST NILE VIRUS.  996 cases of WNV were diagnosed in 2006 with 171 neuroinvasive type and 825 fever – and 23 deaths.  (neuroinvasive = meningitis, encephalitis, neuro complications during and after diagnosis)

As of June 2007, GEM COUNTY has identified the first positive mosquito pool in Idaho.

Hospitals, physicians, health professionals, and labs must report probable and confirmed cases.


The biggest problem in the Northern Idaho region that I talked with Panhandle representatives about is the standing water drainage systems.

It appears that the Planning and Zoning, government maintainence such as roadways, and the health departments are NOT talking to each other.  The ground water grassy swales that are imposed are now the breeding grounds for such mosquito populations.  This water is stagnant until it filters down through the ground to protect our ground water.  The drains typically are set 8 inches above the level of the ground to allow overflow in heavy rains or runoffs, but this is the rub.  The swales stay wet.  Hopefully all parties will begin to plan for such health disasters at the early stages of future developments.  Revising the swales may need to become a priority.

Review WNV and WNV-birdflu-hunting at the these sites:







hunter risk and west nile or bird flu


Recently Nick asked some great hunting questions.  Here is my researched answer to your question.  This is on West Nile Virus and Bird Flu….Thanks for the question  * Dr.  Jim Winter  www.castmd.com


West Nile Virus

Q. Can you get WNV from eating game birds or animals that have been infected?
There is no evidence that WNV virus can be transmitted to humans through consuming infected birds or animals. In keeping with overall public health practice, and due to the risk of known food-borne pathogens, people should always follow procedures for fully cooking meat from either birds or mammals.

Bird Flu Virus

Since 2003, a growing number of human H5N1 cases have been reported in Azerbaijan, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam. More than half of the people infected with the H5N1 virus have died. Most of these cases are all believed to have been caused by exposure to infected poultry. There has been no sustained human-to-human transmission of the disease, but the concern is that H5N1 will evolve into a virus capable of human-to-human transmission.

More on Bird Flu

Human Infection with Avian Influenza Viruses


“Human influenza virus” usually refers to those subtypes that spread widely among humans. There are only three known A subtypes of influenza viruses (H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2) currently circulating among humans. It is likely that some genetic parts of current human influenza A viruses originally came from birds. Influenza A viruses are constantly changing, and other strains might adapt over time to infect and spread among humans. The risk from avian influenza is generally low to most people, because the viruses do not usually infect humans. H5N1 is one of the few avian influenza viruses to have crossed the species barrier to infect humans, and it is the most deadly of those that have crossed the barrier.

Most cases of H5N1 influenza infection in humans have resulted from contact with infected poultry (e.g., domesticated chicken, ducks, and turkeys) or surfaces contaminated with secretion/excretions from infected birds. So far, the spread of H5N1 virus from person to person has been limited and has not continued beyond one person. Nonetheless, because all influenza viruses have the ability to change, scientists are concerned that H5N1 virus one day could be able to infect humans and spread easily from one person to another.

In the current outbreaks in Asia, Europe, and Africa, more than half of those infected with the H5N1 virus have died. Most cases have occurred in previously healthy children and young adults. However, it is possible that the only cases currently being reported are those in the most severely ill people, and that the full range of illness caused by the H5N1 virus has not yet been defined. Symptoms of avian influenza in humans have ranged from typical human influenza-like symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches) to eye infections, pneumonia, severe respiratory diseases (such as acute respiratory distress), and other severe and life-threatening complications. The symptoms of avian influenza may depend on which virus caused the infection. Because these viruses do not commonly infect humans, there is little or no immune protection against them in the human population. If H5N1 virus were to gain the capacity to spread easily from person to person, a pandemic (worldwide outbreak of disease) could begin. No one can predict when a pandemic might occur. However, experts from around the world are watching the H5N1 situation very closely and are preparing for the possibility that the virus may begin to spread more easily and widely from person to person.
For the most current information about avian influenza and cumulative case numbers, see the map on this site’s home page.
For more information about human infection, see http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/gen-info/avian-flu-humans.htm


West Nile Virus…

Mosquitoes and birds have carried West Nile virus across the United States since 1999, avoiding only northern Idaho and most of Washington state as of August 2006. This summer, more than 250 people in southern Idaho developed West Nile symptoms: fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph nodes.

Symptoms usually last three to six days and there’s no specific treatment. About 1 percent of West Nile cases develops into West Nile meningitis and/or encephalitis and may require hospital care. Eighty percent of people infected with the virus develop no symptoms.

        While odds of contracting the virus are small, common sense preventive measures are wise.

    * Stay indoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most prevalent.
    * Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants outdoors.
    * Spray clothing with repellants containing DEET, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
    * Apply insect repellant sparingly to exposed skin
    * Install or repair window and door screens.
    * Eliminate standing water in wading pools, birdbaths, old tires and elsewhere.