West Nile Virus found close to residences in West Richland, Prosser

West Nile Virus found close to residences in West Richland, Prosser »Play Video
TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- It's peak time for mosquitoes and West Nile Virus is a real concern.

For the first time in years, infected mosquitoes were found close to homes in the Tri-Cities.

Crews with Benton County Mosquito Control make their way out to a site where they'll spray. The area off Harrington Road in West Richland is one of three where mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile Virus.

Dalton Beebe and his crew cut open a new bag of the pellets they will spray into areas of standing water like this. They've spent the last week targeting three spots: One off Bunn Road in Prosser, one off Kenne Road near Bombing Range, and this spot here.

The last time the virus carrying insects were this close to neighborhoods was five years ago. That year, there were 30 human cases of West Nile reported between the Tri-Cities and Yakima.

Back at Mosquito Control, Manager Angela Beehler looks over the latest maps that show affected areas.

"Last Thursday we did an aerial application over 15 thousand acres in Richland and West Richland," she says.

She says the normal number of mosquitoes in a group should be around 200.

"We had numbers come up over 1,000 in West Richland, so we added an aerial spray block," she added.

They're trying to keep the spiking number of possible virus carriers down, but West Nile could already be affecting people in our area.

Reporter: "Is this worrisome seeing them this close to people?"

Beehler: "It is. Mostly because people tend to react or wear repellent or are not on guard until there are human cases of West Nile Virus. But with our system, it takes so long for a human case to be reported. Someone could be sick right now and we wouldn't hear about it for three weeks to a month."

Easy ways to protect your family include staying indoors at dawn and dusk, and wearing repellent that contains Deet.

And now it's a race to keep those potentially deadly bugs out of your neighborhood.

Symptoms of West Nile Virus can feel like a fever or the flu. Some people get over it and never know they had it.

The most at risk are people who are already sick.