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West Nile detected in Hill County mosquitoes

 


Summer is a prime time for exposure to mosquitos in Montana, and Hill County recently has had two mosquito pools test positive for West Nile virus.

A person bitten by an infected mosquito might become infected and develop West Nile fever or a more severe illness, such as brain infections like West Nile meningitis or encephalitis. Removing mosquito breeding areas and preventing mosquito bites are two ways to help to prevent being exposed to West Nile virus.

“The best way to prevent West Nile virus is to prevent mosquito bites,” said Hill County Public Health Director Kim Larson. “The more time you spend outdoors the more chance you have of being bitten by an infected mosquito. We encourage everyone to take precautions against West Nile while recreating outside this summer.”

Together, the Hill County Health Department and Hill County Mosquito District recommend that the 4 D’s of West Nile virus prevention be followed to reduce the chance of mosquito bites.

Dusk/Dawn: Peak mosquitos biting hours are dusk to dawn. Limit outdoor activity during those times. If you must be outside, be sure to protect yourself from bites.

Dress: Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.

DEET: Cover exposed skin with a repellant containing the chemical DEET, which is most effective against mosquito bites.

Drain: Empty any containers holding standing water because they can be excellent breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.

The number of WNV human cases in Montana varies from year to year. Over 200 cases were reported in 2003 and 2007, but generally the average is about 10 reported human infections each year. In 2017, Montana had 11 cases of WNV reported.

There is no way to predict the severity of the area’s West Nile Virus season, that is why it is very important people protect themselves from mosquito bites and eliminate breeding sites around your home. If people have questions they can call either the Health Department 400-2415 or the Mosquito District at 265-4453.

 

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