West Nile Virus Meeting - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

West Nile Virus Meeting

KENNEWICK, Wash. - Washington State health leaders are concerned about West Nile Virus in Washington.

There were three human cases reported to the Health Department in 2006, but Idaho reported 911 human cases and Oregon had 67 last year.

Washington Health Officials are worried that Washington could see trends like Idaho and Oregon for 2007 and state officials said they want to be prepared if they do receive a high number of reported cases.

Thursday afternoon members of the Benton Franklin Health Department, Mosquito Control District officials and health officials from surrounding Washington counties met to form a plan of action.

Health Officials said controlling the number of mosquitos, monitoring the number of dead birds and public education are the most important aspects in the battle against West Nile.

Benton Franklin County Health Specialist Susan Shelton said, "Precautions are pretty easy, but you have to do them all the time.  When you are out and noticing mosquitoes we want you to wear long sleeves, so they don't get to your skin.  You want to prevent mosquito bites.  You want to make sure you don't have any growing around your house."

Shelton said mosquitoes grow in standing water.  She encouraged people to empty out birdbaths and pool covers.  She also said using insect repellant is very important.