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West Nile Virus Discovered in Montana

Photo courtesy of iceberg273/Flickr

A Custer county man who went to his health provider after fever-like symptoms has been diagnosed by the Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS) with West Nile Virus.

Custer County Public Health Emergency Preparedness Nurse, Cindia Miller says that the man “lives and works” in the area around Miles City and that “that’s where it had to come from.” Miller says that the DPHHS does continuous surveillance on communicable diseases and that this is the first known human case of the disease in Montana.

Last week, Idaho reported its first human case of West Nile Virus for the year. And in July, mosquitoes in Montana’s Phillips County and Sheridan County were diagnosed with the disease.

Mosquito’s are carriers for West Nile Virus so the best way to prevent the spread of the disease is to avoid being bit. Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk and live in pools of water. Miller recommends that people make sure all standing water around their home is removed and to wear mosquito repellant to prevent infection.

In recent years, West Nile Virus has not caused significant damage and infected only one to five people. In 2007, however, the Center for Disease Control reports that over 200 people were infected resulting in four human deaths.

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