Authorities confirm potentially deadly West Nile Virus case in Montana

Authorities confirm potentially deadly West Nile Virus case in Montana

A dead bird found in Ogle County has tested positive for a disease that originated in Uganda decades ago.

A dead bird discovered in Ogle County in Montana has tested positive for the West Nile Virus, a disease that is harmless in the majority in humans but in severe cases can result in death.

The Ogle County Health Department announced that a dead bird found in Mt. Morris had tested positive for the disease, which is transmitted by mosquitoes that feed off of infected birds and then transmit it to humans by biting them, according to a WREX report.

While about 80 percent who are bitten don’t show symptoms, others start to become ill within three to 15 days, experiencing anywhere from mild symptoms such as fever, headaches, body aches, and swollen lymph glands to extremely serious complications like meningitis and encephalitis, and possibly even death. People who are 50 years old or older are at the most risk of getting complications and should seek immediate medical attention if they suspect they have contracted the disease.

But because the disease is spread exclusively through mosquitoes, health officials say simple precautions can prevent exposure, such as wearing plenty of insect repellent or long clothing to keep mosquitoes from gaining access to your skin. Also, don’t go out in the dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

If you see any dead birds, contact your local health department so they can inspect it for West Nile Virus. Also, if there is a mosquito control program in your area, report to your local government if you see stagnant water, where mosquitoes are known to thrive.

West Nile Virus was first identified in Uganda back in 1937, but didn’t make its way to Western societies until outbreaks in the mid-1990s, with the first case in America happening in New York in 1999.

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