The Benton-Franklin Health Department has found West Nile Virus in mosquitoes, the first such discovery this year in Washington State.

The first sign that the virus is present in Washington was found in insects after state officials began to test mosquitoes and dead birds in early June. Three counties last year -- Franklin, Grant and Yakima -- had positive insect tests in 2011. No one is known to have contracted the virus.

Most people, if infected, WILL NOT become ill. There could be some symptoms such as a headache and/or fever that will not go away despite treatment. About 1 in every 150 people infected could have severe reactions leading to meningitis, or encephalitis -- a neurological issue. Benton/Franklin officials say the best way to avoid it is prevention. Here are some useful tips:

*Get rid of standing water anywhere near your home.

*Change pet and bird bath water at least once a week and wash basins used outdoors for water.

*Make sure screens on windows and doors will prevent insects from entering,

*Use insect repellent when outdoors.

For more information on West Nile, click here for details from the Benton Franklin Health Department. Do remember West Nile does represent a significant health issue and can be serious.

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