Potentially Deadly Virus Rarely Shows Symptoms - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Potentially Deadly Virus Rarely Shows Symptoms

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YAKIMA, Wash-- Even if you get the West Nile Virus, more than likely you won't even know it. Four out of five people who get it don't show any symptoms.

However, it can be deadly. Five people have died from it in the US this year with the nearest death in California. Oregon, Idaho and Montana have reported human West Nile cases, but so far Washington has only seen infected animals.  

Wednesday State Department of hHalth leaders announced the first case this year of dead birds testing positive for the virus. Three of which were found in Yakima County. 

You get west nile virus from an infected mosquito. Mosquitos get it when they bite an infected bird, then pass on the virus to other birds, horses or people. West Nile symptoms can include fever, headache, tiredness and occasionally rashes. 

People over the age of 50 are more at risk for severe West Nile disease, which attacks the nervous system. Overall, most people don't show West Nile symptoms, 20% get West Nile fever, and less than 1% develop severe West Nile disease, such as meningitis or encephalitis.

Now there's no treatment for a West Nile Virus infection itself. The best way to protect yourself is with mosquito repellent containing deet.