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Health officials: West Nile virus claims life of Benton County woman

Health officials: West Nile virus claims life of Benton County woman

BENTON COUNTY, Wash. -- The Washington State Department of Health confirmed the first death in our state from the West Nile virus.

Officials say a 70-year-old woman from Benton County died after being exposed to infected mosquitos.

Right now, an 80-year-old Benton County man is hospitalized from the virus.

“"That's scary especially for our children who are out playing all day," said local mother Sada Ruby.

Ruby is shocked to hear officials confirmed a local woman died from a mosquito infected with West Nile.

She said she’s especially scared because her family already deals with severe reactions from the bug.

"Usually you just get a tiny little bump and my children and my husband both get no joke a baseball size lump from getting bit by a mosquito," said Ruby.

With confirmed West Nile cases around our area, Benton County Mosquito Control is warning people of the dangers.

"Even though there’s not a huge numbers of mosquitos, those that are out there are I would say are hot with virus. We're getting a lot of positive samples in our lab, showing us there's West Nile in a lot of areas in the district. We’re going to follow those up, make sure were treating standing water, emptying out containers and then doing the spraying whether it be by the trucks or with an airplane," said Angela Beehler of Benton County Mosquito Control.

Officials say to fight the bite, you need to make sure your family is protected and vigilant.

Avoid going outside at dusk and dawn, clear any standing water around your home and spray yourself with repellant.

"It's a virus, so think about how your body feels when you catch a virus- whether it be a cold virus, a flu virus- you get a little achy, get a little feverish, might be a little nauseous, just don't feel good that’s typical of symptoms of West Nile virus," said Heather Hill of the Benton Franklin Health District.

Officials say the elderly or people with a medical condition are more at risk, but urge anyone to go see a doctor with symptoms.

"If you're that one person, it's going to have a devastating effect on you and your family and the future. People want to feel safe in their own backyard and to think that a mosquito could severely impact your life, that’s something we want people to be aware of and take in those precautions," said Beehler.

Benton County Mosquito Control said they'll come out to check and test mosquitos in your backyard if you're in the district free of charge.

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