The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services announced on Wednesday that West Nile Virus has been detected in mosquitoes in three counties, Cascade, Sheridan and Yellowstone.

Epidemiologist Erica Baldry said the disease has not yet been detected in either humans or horses.

“Not everyone who is infected with West Nile will actually become symptomatic,” said Baldry, “Only about one in five develop symptoms. Symptoms can include headaches, body aches, joint pain, some gastrointestinal involvement, or develop a rash. About 1 in 150 can develop more serious symptoms and become severely ill. They could develop encephalitis or meningitis, inflammation of the brain and surrounding tissue. If anyone sees any of these symptoms they should see their healthcare provider.”

Baldry said the DPHHS has tips to keep mosquitoes from breeding in their neighborhoods.

“There are four ‘D’s” when we discuss West Nile Prevention,” she said. “The first one is DEET. Use an insect repellant such as DEET, or some other registered EPA repellant. The second is ‘Drain’, meaning to make sure there is no standing water around your home such as an old tire or tub in which water can stand and breed mosquitoes. The third is ‘dawn and dusk’. These are the times when mosquitoes are most active and the fourth is ‘Dress’, so make sure you are covered when you go outside, but if you can’t, follow the other steps to prevent exposure to mosquitoes.”

For more information about West Nile Virus protection, contact your local health department or visit the state health department website.

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