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West Nile Virus-positive mosquito pool detected in Cascade Count - KXLH.com | Helena, Montana

West Nile Virus-positive mosquito pool detected in Cascade County; no reports of infections

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Photo from CDC Photo from CDC
GREAT FALLS -

The Cascade City-County Health Department has confirmed the first West Nile Virus positive mosquito pool of 2016.

Two WNV-positive samples of Culex tarsalis were collected in the Sun River Valley on Tuesday: one in the town of Vaughn, and one east of Fort Shaw.

The samples were confirmed to be West Nile Virus-positive by the lab at the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services Wednesday.

Joshua Blystone, manager of Cascade County Weed & Mosquito Division, said in a press release, “The Cascade County Weed & Mosquito Division will continue to collect and test mosquito samples from its surveillance traps until the end of September to ensure we are taking all possible steps to help protect residents from WNV.” 

Trixie Smith, Prevention Services Division Manager for CCHD, said, “No infection in humans, horses, or birds, has been detected in Cascade County so far this year, but we still encourage all residents to take steps to protect themselves.”

The severity and symptoms of West Nile Virus can vary widely. 

Approximately 80% of people infected experience no symptoms, but up to 20% can develop a mild illness, called West Nile fever. 

West Nile fever generally resolves itself without treatment, but dangerous brain infections such as encephalitis or meningitis can develop in 1 out of 150 people, according to the press release. Symptoms of these diseases might include headache, rash, high fever, stiff neck, mental confusion, muscle weakness, tremors, convulsions, coma, and paralysis.  People who develop any of these symptoms should see their healthcare provider immediately.

The best defense against WNV is bite prevention.

To protect yourself, the CCHD stresses the "4 Ds" seen below:

  • DEET-Apply repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient, such as DEET, and follow the directions on the package.
  • DUSK and DAWN-This is when mosquitoes are most active. Try to avoid outdoor activities during these times.
  • DRAIN STANDING WATER-Standing water is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Drain such areas around your home (gutters, pools, tires, buckets, water bowls, etc.).
  • DRESS APPROPRIATELY-Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks.

For more information about West Nile Virus, visit the Centers For Disease Control & Prevention website.

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