First North Dakota West Nile Virus Case Reported| 8/7/2012
"This case is a reminder of the seriousness of West Nile virus, especially for people older than 50 and those with weakened immune systems," said West Nile Virus Program Manager Michelle Feist. "Although the risk of serious illness to most people is low, everyone is at risk of developing West Nile virus infection after being bitten by an infected mosquito."
The department also says that the virus has also been detected in six people through blood donor screening in Ransom (two cases), Cass, Barnes, Sargent and LaMoure Counties. The virus has also been reported in three horses.
The Department of Health doesn`t count people identified through blood donor screening bacuase they don`t have symptoms.
To reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes, the state health department recommends the following protective measures:
- Use insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, IR 3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or permethrin when outdoors. Always follow the directions on the manufacturer`s label.
- Limit outdoor activities between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most likely to bite.
- When possible, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts while outside.
- Eliminate stagnant water and leaf debris in containers around homes where mosquitoes can lay their eggs (e.g., buckets, flowerpots, old tires, wading pools and birdbaths).
- Keep mosquitoes from entering your home by repairing screens in windows and doors.
- Keep the grass around your home trimmed.
In 2011, four human cases of West Nile virus were reported to the Department of Health. In addition, West Nile infection was identified in one horse and six dogs.
West Nile virus activity will be updated Wednesday mornings each week on the Department of Health`s website at www.ndhealth.gov/wnv.