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West Nile virus found in Cass mosquitoes; spraying tonight in F-M area

FARGO – Three pools of mosquitoes that test positive for West Nile virus were found Tuesday in Cass County, the county vector control office reported.

In response, county officials announced that aerial spraying for adult mosquitoes will start at 8 tonight in Fargo and West Fargo.

The city of Moorhead, too, will conduct aerial spraying starting at 8 tonight, as long as winds are less than 10 mph and the temperature is greater than 58 degrees.

The public is advised to take precautions against mosquitoes, particularly during dawn and dusk. That includes wearing long sleeved shirts and pants, and using repellents with DEET or other chemicals safe for humans.

Moorhead officials recommend that residents not walk through the spray cloud, but add that the spray will not harm paint on vehicles or homes.

West Nile virus is commonly spread by infected mosquitoes. It can cause flu-like symptoms, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord).

The incubation period is normally two to six days, but can range up to 14 days.

Most people, 70 to 80 percent, develop no symptoms.

About one in five people develop a fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or a rash. Most of these people also recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.

Less than 1 percent of those infected develop serious diseases, such as meningitis or encephalitis. Symptoms of those illnesses can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures or paralysis. Recovery can take weeks or months and some effects may be permanent. About 10 percent of those with a serious infection due to West Nile virus die.

There are no medications to treat West Nile virus infections, though over-the-counter pain relievers can reduce fever and symptoms. In more severe cases, patients often need to be hospitalized.

Most people are infected from June to September.

Helmut Schmidt | Forum News Service

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