The first cases of West Nile Virus for 2017 have been reported to the North Dakota Department of Health.
Michelle Feist is West Nile Virus Program Manager. She says since this time of year is when cases start showing up, it was only a matter of time.
"The vector that transmits, mosquito is increasing this time of year. I was looking back last year in 2016 when we reported our first human case, and it was the first week in July. So this is something we expect this time of year, and we usually have most of our human activity around mid-August. So looking at the timing, people who haven't been taking precautions and using insect repellent should start doing that now."
Feist says there are two current confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in humans in North Dakota - one is in LaMoure and the other is in Barnes County, and neither were hospitalized. But Feist says since West Nile came to the state it has been reported from every county. She says in addition to wearing repellant containing DEET, you can wear long sleeves and pants to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, especially during the hours of dawn and dusk. She says you can also remove standing water from flower pots, bird baths and other areas from your yard to stop mosquitoes from breeding. In 2016 there were 85 confirmed cases of West Nile Virus, with 28 patients hospitalized and two of them dying.