BISMARCK, N.D. — The first human case of West Nile virus in North Dakota in 2019 has been identified in a resident of McHenry County, the North Dakota Department of Health announced Wednesday, July 3.

“This is the second year in a row where our first case is earlier than usual,” said Evan Bischoff, WNV surveillance coordinator. “There is risk of contracting WNV anytime mosquitoes are active, so it is important to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites.”

The NDDoH recommends residents take these precautions to avoid mosquito bites:

  • Use insect repellent. 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.
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors.
  • 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.

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