West Nile virus found in mosquitoes in Yakima County -- first detection in state this year

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- The state Department of Health on Thursday said West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes in Yakima County and advised residents to be cautious of mosquito bites and avoid breeding areas.

It's the first confirmed detection in the state this year, the department said. Nine people in Washington were reported to have contracted the disease last year.

"The majority of people infected with West Nile virus do not get sick," the department said. "About one in five will develop a fever or other symptoms that go away without medical treatment."

However, for a small number of people, West Nile disease can lead to permanent neurological effects or death. People over age 60 and those with certain medical conditions are most at risk of severe disease, the department said.

People can take simple precautions to protect themselves against mosquito bites, the department said.