Bismarck Begins to Spray, As Cases of the West Nile Virus Occur Every Year

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With hot and humid weather, comes mosquitoes and some of those mosquitoes can carry the West Nile Virus. 

So far it hasn’t been that bad of a year for mosquitoes in Bismarck-Mandan.

Layla Rosemore, Mandan Resident,  “Not this year, I’ve been going out a lot and doing a lot of walks this summer and even like in the wood areas, I haven’t been bitten at all this year.”

Counts of mosquitoes might be on the low side for now, partially due to the drought, but the case of the West Nile Virus is still a concern.

Laura Cronquist, from the ND Department of Health says, “West Nile Virus is definitely a concern in North Dakota.”

The state health department says this is about the time of year where we start to see West Nile cases.

Case numbers change year to year…And North Dakota has had a case every year the past 15 years.

“In 2016, we had 2 deaths due to West Nile Virus in the state of North Dakota,”  adds Cronquist. 

The Dakotas typically have the most cases in the country.

85 reports last year alone here in North Dakota.

Anton Sattler, Environmental Health Administrator for the City of Bismark says, “The mosquito that carries West Nile predominately in this area is the culex mosquito. It is a plains mosquito and so it can be found from North Dakota to Texas and it actually does fairly well during drought conditions whereas other mosquitoes might not do so well.” 

Everyone can potentially get the virus if bitten, and no one is excused.

Cronquist says, “1 in 5 people get symptoms and typically those are mild symptoms, fever, headache, body aches.”

There’s no vaccine for the virus and bug spray is the best prevention. 

Laura Cronquist says the virus is evenly spread throughout the state, but McIntosh county did have the highest number of cases last year. 

And as of last week, the city of Bismarck has started spraying for mosquitos.

There are two ways to monitor mosquitoes, one is to track how many and another is prevention. 

For surveillance: There are 10 traps in the city that monitor the mosquito population.

They found a total of 235 mosquitoes this past week… that is low.. to put that into perspective an average from one week last year was 716 mosquitoes. 

And prevention is spraying and fogging out the bugs.

Anton Sattler say,s “Mosquitoes are most active at sunrise and sunset and we typically fog in the morning between the hours of 5-7 am. That’s a popular time for mosquitoes and one of the reasons we tend to do that is people tend to not be out and about in these common public areas as much.” 

Bismarck sprays in parks, along trails, parks and golf courses, mainly where people go during the day. 

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