WDH: West Nile virus already active in Wyoming

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A case of West Nile virus has already been detected in Campbell County, raising fears of the virus getting an earlier than usual start in the state.

According to a press release from the Wyoming Department of Health, cases of the virus usually start to appear in late July or August.

“We don’t think this early case necessarily means we’re in for a tough season, but we want people to know they should protect themselves,” said WDH Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit manager Clay Van Houten in the press release.

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The virus is spread by mosquitos who feed on infected birds and then bite people and other animals and birds.

The WDH says four cases of the disease were found in 2018, including one death in Goshen County.

The disease was first recorded in Wyoming in 2002, and human cases have varied widely from year to year.

Van Houten said most people who are infected don’t have symptoms, but those who do become ill experience “fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph nodes.”

A small number develop West Nile neuroinvasive disease with symptoms like “severe headache, fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions and paralysis.”

The WDH reducing time outside during dawn and dusk when mosquitos are most active, wearing long pants and sleeves, draining standing water where mosquitos breed, and using DEET insect repellent.

More information can be found here.