Season’s first case of West Nile reported in North Dakota

West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus(MGN)
Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 12:24 PM CDT
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RICHLAND COUNTY, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) has confirmed the first human case of West Nile virus disease this season. The individual lives in Richland County and was not hospitalized.

“This is the time of year when WNV activity increases, so it is important to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites” says Amanda Bakken, WNV surveillance coordinator for NDDoH. “Warmer temperatures contribute to increased risk of being bitten by an infected mosquito.”

“We typically do start to see a case or two pop up in June but the peak that we have with cases is typically mid to late August when mosquito populations are high,” Bakken said.

Ben Prather with Cass County Vector Control said they’re surprised by the small number of mosquitos they have been seeing in this area.

However, Prather said they have been seeing many mosquitos in the northern counties.

NDDoH recommends people take precautions to avoid mosquito bites, especially leading into the holiday weekend:

  • Use insect repellent registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that contain ingredients such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, PMD, 2-undecanone, and permethrin (clothing only). Always follow the directions on the manufacturer’s label for safe and effective use.
  • Wear protective clothing outdoors such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks.
  • Limit outdoor activities between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes that can carry WNV are most likely to bite.
  • Eliminate stagnant water in containers around homes where mosquitoes can lay their eggs (e.g. gutters, buckets, flower pots, old tires, wading pools and birdbaths).
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your residence.
  • Maintain a well-trimmed yard and landscape around your home.

Most people infected with West Nile virus experience no symptoms. Those who develop symptoms will commonly report fever, headache, body/joint aches or rash. People who develop severe illness may experience stiff neck, altered mental status, paralysis, coma and possibly death.

“Once they develop, and if they develop in a severe form, it can last weeks to months even to years,” Bakken said.

People over 60, or those who have underlying health issues are at greater risk for developing West Nile neuroinvasive disease.

Click here or more information about West Nile virus and mosquito bite prevention.

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