Posted: Sep 5, 2013 3:32 PM by MTN News
BILLINGS - RiverStone Health and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services are reporting the first human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in Yellowstone County and in Montana for 2013.
The case was diagnosed at a Billings hospital and confirmed last week. The patient, a Yellowstone County female resident in her fifties, did not require hospitalization and is expected to fully recover. The individual had no history of travel outside the state within the past month.
"West Nile Virus is most commonly found in people over 50-years-old, but every Montanan should be taking precautionary measures to help prevent WNV infection," said DPHHS Director Richard Opper.
In the U.S. this year, 497 human cases of WNV have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of these cases, 20 have died.
The first indication of the presence of WNV in Montana this year occurred in mid-July when mosquitoes with WNV were found in Prairie County. The first WNV positive bird was also detected at that time in Sheridan County. Horses with WNV infection were reported in late August from counties in central and eastern parts of the state.
Most people who become infected with WNV experience no symptoms. Some individuals may develop a mild illness, called West Nile fever, which may last for three to six days.
Other individuals, fewer than one out of 150, may become severely infected with West Nile encephalitis or West Nile meningitis.
Symptoms of this disease may include headache, rash, high fever, stiff neck, mental confusion, muscle weakness, tremors, convulsions, coma and paralysis.
There is no available treatment for WNV infection other than supportive care.
Individuals who develop any of these symptoms should see their healthcare provider.