The Roundup -

Richland County Reports First Confirmed Human West Nile Virus Case for 2018


September 19, 2018 | View PDF

Richland County’s first human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) has been reported for 2018 on September 10th after exposure to mosquitoes locally. The adult case was hospitalized and is now home recovering. State and local health officials are encouraging Montanans take steps to avoid mosquito bites and prevent infection with West Nile virus.

WNV case tracking began in Montana in 2003. The highest number of cases reported in Richland County was 7 confirmed cases in 2007.  

As of September 7th, there have been 25 confirmed human cases of WNV reported for the 2018 season in Montana. The first human case Montana for 2018 was confirmed on August 10 from Cascade County.

On August 29th, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services reported the first human death this year in Montana from West Nile Virus in an elderly Yellowstone County individual. This is the first WNV associated death in the state since 2016.

WNV season usually begins in July and ends in October in Montana. Only certain mosquitoes carry West Nile Virus and it is spread to people through bites. There is no vaccine to prevent WNV so the most effective way to prevent infection is to minimize the risk of mosquito bites by following the 4D’s.

The 4Ds of West Nile Virus prevention are:

DEET: Use insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin. A solution with 25 percent to 35 percent DEET is best but children ages 2-12 should use repellent with no more than 10 percent DEET.

Drain: Empty standing water around your house to prevent mosquitoes breeding.

Dawn/Dusk: Mosquitoes are most active during dawn and dusk so stay inside during these times or take precautions to prevent bites.

Dress: Protect yourself from bites by wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants while outside. About four out of five people infected with WNV have no symptoms.

About one in five infected people will experience mild symptoms that may include headache and muscle aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea or a rash. Those cases usually require no treatment. Less than 1 in 100 people who become infected develop serious infections in or around the brain, also known as neuroinvasive disease. Life-threatening symptoms include headache, rash, high fever, stiff neck, mental confusion, and other symptoms. Individuals who develop any of these symptoms should see their healthcare provider immediately.

For more information about WNV, visit the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services website at: Local health care providers are reminded to report suspected and confirmed cases to the Richland County Health Department at 433-2207.


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