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West Nile Virus: Montana’s First Case Of The Year

Mosquito biting

Montana public health officials have reported the first case of West Nile Virus of the year in Rosebud County.

NBC Montana reported that the case involves a Rosebud County resident and is recovering in a hospital.

West Nile Virus is carried by various types of mosquitoes and is spread when they bite humans and animals. The disease is the most prevalent in August, but the unusually warm weather in the area is the reason to blame for the early start, according to ABC Fox Montana.

The number of cases in Montana has fluctuated since it came to the state in 2002. There were only five cases last year but in 2003 and 2007 there were 200 cases while there were none in 2010, according to NBC Montana.

Symptoms of WNV usually start between three to 14 days after being bitten and can include a low-grade fever, headache, muscle aches and in rare cases can include severe neurological problems.

Christine Mulgrew, the Department of Public Health and Human Services of Montana West Nile Virus program manager, was quoted by KTVQ as having said that “it is time to start actively preventing mosquito bites” because the number of cases fluctuate from year to year.

Scientists have not been able to predict the number of West Nile virus cases, so it is important to protect yourself from mosquito bites and eliminate breeding sites around your home, (…) With over 90 percent of cases occurring in August and September, it is time to start actively preventing mosquito bites.

Some preventive measures include cleaning up standing water around the home as they tend to gather near water. Wearing long sleeved clothing and using sprays and lotions with the chemical DEET is also effective against mosquito bites.

Mosquitoes are most active during the hours of dawn and dusk, so be sure exercise caution during those periods.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, GMO mosquitoes might be used to fight the spread of disease in the Florida Keys.

So what do you think about West Nile Virus?

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