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West Nile virus found in Grand Forks

GRAND FORKS -- The West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes in the Grand Forks area, officials announced Tuesday, June 12.

The Grand Forks Public Health Department regularly monitors for instances of West Nile virus, and the disease has been present in the area since 2002.

Last year, North Dakota saw 62 reported cases of West Nile in humans and two deaths, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This year’s unusually warm May weather could be especially conducive to the spread of West Nile virus, Todd Hanson of the health department said.

“When we start seeing the real hot weather it is concerning to us,” Hanson said. “Hot dry conditions are ideal for West Nile activity.”

The public health department urges Grand Forks residents to limit their outdoor activities in the time between dusk and dawn, wear long sleeves and pants when possible and use repellent spray containing DEET.

It is also important for residents to ensure their property is not friendly toward mosquitos, said Hanson. He suggests residents drain sources of standing water; mosquitoes can breed in any container that holds water for a week or more.

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