Okanogan County Public Health is investigating a suspected case of West Nile virus (WNV) in an Okanogan County resident, said Lauri Jones, community health director.
Confirmatory testing is being conducted by the Washington State Department of Health and the results will be made public when they are known, Jones said this week.
Jones issued a press release about the potential WNV case because “someone took it upon themselves to violate patient confidentiality,” and she had learned of public discussion about the case.
If testing confirms WNV, the information will be posted on the department website at www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/IllnessandDisease/WestNileVirus.
West Nile is a virus most commonly spread to people by mosquito bites. In North America, cases of WNV occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall, according to information from the national Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV. Fortunately, most people infected with WNV do not have symptoms. About one in five people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About one out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness, according to the CDC.
Jones said WNV has been found in eastern Washington, including Spokane, this year. Last year in Okanogan county, two or three horses were infected, she said.