Posted: Aug 14, 2013 5:20 PM by MTN News
Updated: Aug 14, 2013 5:36 PM
GREAT FALLS - The Cascade County Weed & Mosquito Division has detected its first West Nile Virus (WNV) positive mosquito pool in 2013.
A press release from the Cascade City-County Health Department says that the positive sample of Culex tarsalis was collected on Monday, August 12, 2013 in the Fort Shaw area, and was confirmed by the lab at the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services on Wednesday, August 14, 2013.
Trixie Smith, the 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 WNV can vary widely. Approximately 80% of people infected experience no symptoms, but up to 20% of persons can develop a mild illness called West Nile fever.
CCHD says that West Nile fever generally resolves itself without treatment, but 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; anyone who develops any of these symptoms should see their healthcare provider immediately.
The CCHD says that the best defense against WNV is bite prevention, and urges people to follow "4 Ds":
• 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.