Wyoming Department Of Health Reports First Case Of West Nile Virus In 2019

Jun 11, 2019

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The Wyoming Department of Health is reporting the first case of West Nile virus this year involving an adult in Campbell County.

The illness spreads when a mosquito feeds on an infected bird then bites animals or humans.

Kim Deti, public information officer for the Wyoming Department of Health, said having a case in early June is rare, noting they usually see cases in late July or August.

"We don't necessarily think that means that we're in for a tough season, but we do want people to know that West Nile virus is something that's real. It shouldn't be taken for granted and we do want them to protect themselves from mosquito bites," she said.

In Wyoming, there were four cases of West Nile reported in 2018, including one death. The department said the virus first came to the state in 2002.

Deti said it's hard to get an accurate count of how many people contract West Nile because most people who get the illness never show symptoms.

"We haven't high numbers in the last few years and we don't know for sure for but we think many people who have West Nile virus are not getting tested so it makes it hard for us to know the true number of cases," she said.

Symptoms of West Nile virus can include fever, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, and a skin rash. Some people who contract the virus can develop more severe symptoms.

For prevention, the department recommends avoiding the outdoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitos are most active, covering up when you're outside, draining or avoiding standing water and using an insect repellant with DEET.