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Season's 1st case of West Nile virus reported in North Dakota

The person diagnosed with West Nile virus lives in Richland County in southeast North Dakota and was not hospitalized.

Ben Prather
Ben Prather, vector control director for Cass County, sorts through a pile of mosquitoes collected at the Fargo Country Club looking for Culex tarsalis, a type of mosquito known to be a carrier of West Nile virus, in this 2012 file photo.
Jesse Trelstad / The Forum
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BISMARCK — The first human case of West Nile virus has been detected in North Dakota this season, the state Department of Health announced Wednesday, June 29.

The person diagnosed with West Nile virus lives in Richland County in southeast North Dakota and was not hospitalized.

“This is the time of year when (West Nile virus) activity increases, so it is important to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites,” Amanda Bakken, the state's West Nile virus surveillance coordinator, said in a statement. “Warmer temperatures contribute to increased risk of being bitten by an infected mosquito.”

As of Tuesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was reporting no West Nile virus activity in Minnesota or South Dakota.

Health officials recommend that residents take these precautions to avoid mosquito bites:

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  • Use insect repellent registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that contains ingredients such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, PMD, 2-undecanone or permethrin (clothing only).
  • 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 West Nile virus are most likely to bite.
  • Remove stagnant water in containers around your home where mosquitoes can lay eggs.
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
  • Keep your yard well-trimmed.

Most people infected with West Nile virus have no symptoms. Those with symptoms often suffer fever, headache, rash or body aches.
Severe symptoms include a stiff neck, altered mental state, paralysis, coma and possibly death . People over 60 or those with underlying health issues have a greater risk for severe illness.

For more information about West Nile virus and preventing mosquito bites, visit https://health.nd.gov/wnv or contact Bakken at ajbakken@nd.gov, 701-328-2385 or 1-800-472-2180.

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