Posted: Aug 15, 2013 3:15 PM by MTN News
Updated: Aug 15, 2013 4:35 PM
West Nile has now been confirmed in six Montana counties.
Mosquitoes in Cascade, Blaine, Prairie, Sheridan, Phillips and Teton Counties have all tested positive.
A pelican near the Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Sheridan County also tested positive.
No cases of human infection has been reported in Montana, but 174 cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) have been reported in other states. The highest rates have been in North and South Dakota.
"Montana has been fortunate in recent years with relatively few cases of WNV reported," said DPHHS Director Richard Opper. "However, recent activity in neighboring states is a concern. We want to remind everyone that WNV is preventable and taking simple precautions can make a big difference."
In 2012, six human cases of WNV were reported in Montana, including one death.
Officials say a seemingly late summer has stalled the increase in numbers of the mosquitoes that carry the disease.
Most people who become infected with WNV experience no symptoms. Some individuals may develop a mild illness, called West Nile fever, which may last for three to six days. Generally, no treatment is needed. Other individuals, fewer than 1 of 150, may become severely ill with West Nile encephalitis or meningitis. Symptoms of this disease 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 health-care provider.
Montanans should take precautions and protect against West Nile Virus by following the five Ds - DUSK/DAWN/DRESS/DEET/DRAIN:
· DUSK/DAWN - mosquitoes are most active during this time. If possible, stay indoors during the early morning and evening hours.
· If you must be outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, DRESS in long sleeves and pants.
· Before going outdoors, remember to apply an insect repellent containing DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide). DEET is recommended by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and is the most effective and best studied insect repellent available. Use a repellent containing 25 percent to 35 percent DEET when it is necessary to be outdoors. Children ages 2-12 should use repellent with 10 percent DEET or less. Products containing picaridin and permethrin have also been found to be effective in repelling mosquitoes, as has oil of lemon eucalyptus.
· To keep the mosquito population at bay around your home, DRAIN standing water in old tires, barrels, buckets, cans, clogged rain gutters, and other items that collect water. Change water in pet bowls, flowerpots, and birdbaths at least twice a week.
For more information contact your local county health department, or visit the DPHHS website.