GREAT FALLS (AP)
Two Roosevelt county men have tested positive for West Nile virus, state health officials said Thursday. ++Gayle Shirley, public information officer for the state Department of Public Health and Human Services, said a 44-year-old man and a 28-year-old man were diagnosed with West Nile fever, which has symptoms similar to the flu. Theirs are the second and third cases of the virus reported in the state this year. A woman in Yellowstone County was reported to have West Nile virus last week, but officials believe she contracted it while traveling in North Dakota. A moose in Ravalli County was also reported to have the virus, Shirley said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 185 cases had been reported nationwide through July 31, up from 87 at the same time a year ago. Sixty people have developed brain infections and five have died. Those figures do not include Montana’s three cases or Tuesday’s death of an elderly man from southeastern Wyoming. People get the virus through the bite of an infected mosquito, which become infected by feeding on infected birds. Many people who become infected with West Nile experience no symptoms. Some may develop West Nile fever, while fewer than one out of 150 become severely infected with West Nile encephalitis or West Nile meningitis, the state said. Health officials are urging people to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites. “It makes sense to do anything you can to protect yourself,” Shirley said.