A mosquito sample collected in Cascade County has tested positive for West Nile Virus.
The Cascade County Weed and Mosquito Division detected its first WNV-positive sample this year near Simms.
The sample was collected on August 1 and confirmed to be WNV-positive by the lab at the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) on August 5.
There have been no known human infections detected in Cascade County this year, according to a press release. However, since a WNV-positive sample has been detected, residents are urged to take steps to protect themselves.
Officials offered the following advice:
- 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.
The City-County Health Department (CCHD) press release stated the severity and symptoms of WNV can vary widely.
Approximately 80 percent of people infected experience no symptoms, but up to 20 percent of people can develop a mild illness, called West Nile fever. Fever generally resolves itself without treatment, but dangerous brain infections such as encephalitis or meningitis can develop in 1 out of 150 people.
Symptoms of these diseases might include headache, rash, high fever, stiff neck, mental confusion, muscle weakness, tremors, convulsions, coma, and paralysis.
Individuals who develop any of these symptoms should see their healthcare provider immediately, according to the CCHD.