BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — The North Dakota Department of Health has confirmed the first human case of West Nile virus disease in the state this season. The individual lives in Richland county in the southeast corner of the state and was not hospitalized.

“This is the time of year when West Nile Virus activity increases, so it is important to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites” says Amanda Bakken, WNV surveillance coordinator for the North Dakota Department of Health. “Warmer temperatures contribute to increased risk of being bitten by an infected mosquito.”

Most people infected with West Nile virus experience no symptoms. Those who develop symptoms will commonly report fever, headache, body/joint aches or rash. People who develop severe illness may experience stiff neck, altered mental status, paralysis, coma and possibly death.

People over 60, or those who have underlying health issues are at greater risk for developing West Nile neuroinvasive disease.

The health department recommends residents take precautions to avoid mosquito bites, especially leading into the holiday weekend:

  • Use insect repellent registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that contain ingredients such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, PMD, 2-undecanone, and permethrin (clothing only). Always follow the directions on the manufacturer’s label for safe and effective use.
  • Wear protective clothing outdoors such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks.
  • Limit outdoor activities between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes that can carry West Nile Virus are most likely to bite.
  • Eliminate stagnant water in containers around homes where mosquitoes can lay their eggs (e.g. gutters, buckets, flower pots, old tires, wading pools and birdbaths).
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your residence.
  • Maintain a well-trimmed yard and landscape around your home.

For more information about West Nile virus and mosquito bite prevention, visit https://health.nd.gov/wnv, or contact Amanda Bakken at ajbakken@nd.gov, (701) 328-2385 or (800) 472-2180.