BOISE -- Ada County test sites captured mosquitoes this week that tested positive for the virus. In May, Ada County workers start looking for mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus. They place traps at night and the next morning, they test the mosquitoes caught in the traps.
"So we get it all done within one day, so we know exactly when we get it in Ada County," said Field Operations Manager, Desiree Keeney. "We set the traps every night, Monday through Thursday."
Keeney said they set more than 100 traps a week. Thursday they found something out of the ordinary: a pool of mosquito samples tested positive for West Nile.
"A lot of people can die or get hurt from the disease, and it's just transmitted by this vector insect. So it's really important to monitor the species and know when we're having an issue," said Keeney.
In 2006, many Idahoans were affected by West Nile. Idaho had 1,000 cases, including 23 deaths. Since then, the Ada County Weed, Pest, and Mosquito Abatement Department stepped things up.
"We've seen in the last few years with the better testing that we have, we've increased our surveillance several-fold, we've tightened up the program quite a lot," said Brian Wilbur, Director of the Ada County Weed, Pest, and Mosquito Abatement Department.
Wilbur told us the hot weather helps mosquitoes, including those that carry West Nile grow faster.
"These things are so compounded by so many different things in the environment but weather is a big huge key," he said.
In cooler weather, mosquitoes go from eggs to adults in two weeks. But in conditions like we've seen lately, it can take as little as three days. That means the population is growing faster - so there are more mosquitoes right now that could spread the virus.
You can look online and see where they caught the infected mosquitoes, and that spot has been specially treated.
To minimize your chances, the abatement department recommends: wearing light color clothes, covering exposed skin, wearing a repellent with deet, and emptying standing water every three days.