West Nile Virus Hits Minnesota - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

West Nile Virus Hits Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota (Minnesota Health Department) - The first human case of West Nile virus (WNV) disease of 2013 was found in a Minnesotan man.
The Murray County Man became ill with WNV earlier this month and is still in the process of recovering. This disease can not only be detrimental to ones health, but can ultimately be life-threatening.
About 1 out of 150 people bitten by a WNV-infected mosquito will develop central nervous system disease and approximately 10 percent of people (with this severe form of infection) die from their illness. Survivors may also suffer from long-term nervous system problems.
Luckily, most people who are bitten by infected mosquito's will develop West Nile Fever, which is a less severe form of disease. Symptoms may include headache, high fever, rash, muscle weakness, stiff neck, disorientation etc.
Health officials urge the public to protect themselves from mosquitos, since we have now entered the high risk season of WNV, which will continue until early this autumn.
David Neitzel, a Minnesota Department of Health epidemiologist says, "The species of mosquito that transmits the virus to humans is most abundant in July and August..."
While the virus can spread through all age groups and through all Minnesota residents, those living in Western and Central counties experience the greatest risk of attaining the disease. Western and Central counties typically have the greatest number of Culex tarsalis mosquitos--the primary mosquito carrier of the virus in Minnesota.
How can you protect yourself? First and foremost, routinely use mosquito repellents and follow the directions labled on the bottle. Also, minimize outdoor activities at dusk and dawn. Lastly, wear loose-fitting, long-sleeve shirts and long pants if you are outdoors in areas where mosquitoes are biting.
For more information visit http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/RepellentUpdates.htm or call the Minnesota Health Department at 651-201-5414 or 1-877-676-5414.
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