WADENA -- The state Health Department reported Thursday the year's first human case of the West Nile virus in Minnesota.
An adult Wadena County woman tested positive for the virus. She became ill in late June with symptoms including high fever and severe headache.
The woman has been hospitalized with encephalitis and is improving slowly, health officials said.
Health officials said the peak season for West Nile in humans is mid-July through mid-September.
West Nile virus is transmitted through mosquito bites. While usually not serious in humans, it can lead to encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain.
Karen Nelson, Wadena County public health director, said there are steps people may take for personal prevention of the West Nile virus. She suggested wearing DEET to deter mosquitoes, wearing long sleeves, avoiding prime mosquito feeding time -- at the beginning or end of the day -- and eliminating standing water.
She said the mosquitoes to be most concerned about are considered bucket breeders "meaning those mosquitoes that carry West Nile need a higher water temperature to breed.
"So they breed more in a lid of a bucket in your backyard than they do in the lakes or the swamps."
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.