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Second West Nile-Related Death in North Dakota - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Second West Nile-Related Death in North Dakota

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BISMARCK, N.D. – The North Dakota Department of Health announced the state's second West Nile virus-related death in 2013. The individual was a man living in the southeastern region of North Dakota and was older than 60 years of age. He died while hospitalized and had underlying medical conditions.

"This death is an unfortunate reminder that West Nile virus can be a very severe disease, especially for those older than 60 years of age," said Alicia Lepp, epidemiologist with the North Dakota Department of Health. "Until there is a hard frost to get rid of the remaining mosquito population, people should continue to take steps to prevent mosquito bites. Although the risk for infection is small, it is still there."

To date, 101 human West Nile virus (WNV) cases have been reported in 28 counties this year. In 2012, North Dakota had 89 WNV cases and one WNV-related death. Of the 101 human cases reported this year, 50 percent have developed the more severe form of WNV disease that causes neurologic infection. Recovery from severe WNV disease may take several weeks or months. Some of the neurologic effects may be permanent.

The symptoms of severe WNV illness can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, coma, paralysis and even death. People with these symptoms should see a health-care provider immediately.

For more information about West Nile virus, visit www.ndhealth.gov/wnv.

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