The potentially deadly West Nile virus spread by mosquito bites continues to spread throughout the state, with mosquitoes carrying the virus now confirmed in Hill County.
Hill County Mosquito District Coordinator Terry Turner told the Havre Daily News Monday that the testing lab confirmed the virus in samples sent from Hill County.
Last week, the state confirmed the virus first appearing in Montana with positive tests in six counties including Blaine County.
That list now includes Hill County, with Lewis and Clark County also added. The other counties with confirmed cases are Cascade, Prairie, Sheridan, Phillips and Teton counties.
While most people who contract the virus do not show noticeable symptoms, about 1 in 5 contract fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash.
Fewer than 1 percent contracting the virus will suffer serious neurological illness with impacts that can last several weeks or months, and some of the effects could be permanent. About 10 percent of people who develop these neurologic infections due to West Nile virus will die.
People are urged to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, especially during the evening hours when the type of mosquito that carries the virus typically is out.
Experts urge people to use approved insect repellants and to wear loose-fitting long pants and long-sleeved shirts, and to remove standing water, including regularly changing water in pet dishes or fountains and other items, in which the mosquitoes breed.