West Nile Virus Cases Up in North Dakota | VideoMichelle San Miguel | 9/1/2012
People may not be seeing as many mosquitoes this year but the warm weather has been ripe for these pesky transmitters.
"They still need water to lay their eggs in, but they need a very small amount of water. They don`t need a large amount of water so this weather pattern that we`re in, it favors this mosquito that transmits West Nile," said Michelle Feist, program manager for the West Nile Virus.
About 80 percent of the people who`ve been bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus don`t experience symptoms of the disease. But those who do can face severe symptoms.
Feist said, "A small proportion, about 20 percent, experience symptoms like fever, headaches, body aches. Some people have a rash, extreme fatigue and tiredness and even a small proportion are the ones that get really sick and probably end up being hospitalized."
"The rare type of West Nile where it can cause the encephalitis or the meningitis where the infection gets into the brain and if we`re seeing any of those alarm signs then that would be where I would test for the virus," said Dr. Laura Archuleta, a family physician at St. Alexius.
If people are going to be outside between dusk and dawn, when the mosquitoes carrying the virus are most active, health providers advise spraying on insect repellent. They also recommend wearing long sleeves and pants.
No deaths from the West Nile Virus have been reported in North Dakota this year. The last time someone died from the virus in the state in 2007 when three people died.