Bears. Rattlesnakes. Wolves. Mountain Lions. Idaho’s full of wild animals that could potentially kill you, but let’s be honest. Short of the rattlesnakes, how many of these do you see while you’re just minding your own business?

Sure, mountain lions will sometimes wander down from the foothills and scavenge in parks along the river. Every now and then a bear may try to get into a trash bin in McCall. But for the most part? You rarely see these animals and they’re rarely responsible for fatalities in our area. 

READ MORE: These "Killer" Wasps Area All Over Boise Right Now

We can’t say the same about this particular creature that we warned you about in April. Chances are that if you float the Boise River, grill in the backyard or go for an evening walk on the Greenbelt today, you’ll encounter the “deadliest creature in the world” - the mosquito. 

While they’re not big or menacing, they’ve earned that nickname because world wide, they’re responsible for approximately 700,000 deaths a year. Mosquitoes are carriers of dangerous and sometimes fatal diseases like Malaria, Zika, West Nile Virus and Dengue Fever. Pfizer estimates that nearly 86% of those deaths are due to Malaria. 

While you don’t hear many stories about Malaria or Zika in the United States, Dengue Fever is making headlines right now. On June 25, the CDC issued a health advisory because countries in North and South America have already reported 9.7 million cases in 2024. That’s almost double the number of cases reported in all of last year. 

Dengue Fever in Idaho


According to the Mayo Clinic, dengue fever can cause severe stomach pain, persistent vomiting, bleeding from the gums or nose, blood in urine, stool or vomit, difficulty breathing, fatigue and irritability. While many people bounce back in a week, severe cases may be fatal and there’s no medication to treat it. 

At press time, 2,241 cases have been reported in the United States. The single case reported in Idaho was reported in Ada County. That does NOT mean you should panic. Their website indicates that this person appears to have picked up the disease while traveling to an at risk region. 

The Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus species known to be vectors do not occur naturally in our area, nor have they been detected by the Ada County Mosquito Abatement District while they’ve been monitoring mosquitoes for West Nile. 

West Nile in Idaho


We can’t say the same for West Nile Virus. It makes headlines in Idaho every summer. It was first detected in Ada County in 2005 and by the next summer, the number of cases didn’t just explode, Ada County actually led the entire country for the most reported cases. 

The CDC says that about 80% of people who contract West Nile may remain blissfully unaware that they’ve contracted the disease. Others aren’t so lucky. They may develop symptoms like fever, vomiting/diarrhea and fatigue. About 1 in 150 West Nile patients will suffer from symptoms that can negatively affect the central nervous system. Things like encephalitis or meningitis. They’re the patients most likely to die as a result of contracting West Nile. 

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The most recent numbers from the CDC shows that Idaho has reported at least 1,440 human cases of West Nile Virus since 1999. 255 of those cases have been neuroinvasive. 

In 2023, two people died due to complications from West Nile. According to the Idaho Press, the first casualty was a man over 50 in Owyhee County. They reported his death in late August. KMVT reported that a woman in Gooding County died about a month later.

It is worth noting that not ALL mosquitoes are West Nile vectors. Only six species in our area are primary vectors. Below are some tips and tricks to help you avoid mosquito bites. Everything from the plants in your yard to what you wear may make a difference.

KEEP READING: Plant Some Of These In Your Garden to Keep Mosquitoes Away

As we previously told you, mosquitoes are the most dangerous creatures on earth. If you want to keep them away from you're yard, these plants can help!

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Colors to Avoid Wearing in Boise Unless You Love Mosquitoes

A new study done by the University of Washington found that mosquitoes seem to be attracted to certain colors while ignoring others. The findings may make you rethink your summer wardrobe! Here take a look at the colors these little bloodsuckers love and hate.

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Tips for Lowering Your Risk of Mosquito Bites

Mosquitoes are the deadliest creature in the world. The Ada County Mosquito Abatement District offers these tips to protect yourself.

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