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Jack Lamb, left, and Tyson Maxon, workers in the vector program for Bismarck, collect from a mosquitoes trap at Horizon Middle School last month. The site is one of the 10 mosquito traps placed across the city to monitor and collect data in problem areas. 

North Dakota health officials are reporting a "steep increase" in human cases of West Nile virus.

From July 30 to Monday, there were 14 reported human cases of West Nile, according to the North Dakota Department of Health. There have been 18 reported human West Nile cases in the state so far this year.

Thirty-four mosquito pools, 10 birds and one horse have tested positive for West Nile, according to the Department of Health.

Reported human cases

County Number of cases
Burleigh 7
Cass 2
Foster 1
LaMoure 1
Morton 1
Ramsey 2
Ransom 1
Stutsman 1
Williams 2
Total 18

"People should be aware of the increase in mosquitoes spreading West Nile virus and take proper precautions to protect themselves from bites," said Jenny Galbraith, an epidemiologist with the Department of Health.

Health officials remind residents who spend time outdoors to wear insect repellent and remove sources of stagnant water where mosquitoes may lay their eggs, such as bird baths, plant pots and buckets.

Most people infected with West Nile virus experience no symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Severe symptoms include fever, headache, body aches and rash, which can take several weeks or months of recovery, or could result in death.

While severe illness can affect people of all ages, those older than 60 are at greater risk, according to the CDC.

Positive mosquito pools

County Number of pools
Burleigh 4
Cass 10
Grand Forks 8
Ramsey 3
Richland 2
Ward 1
Williams 6
Total 34

The confirmed human cases of West Nile in North Dakota include six cases in people ages 30 to 39 and eight cases in people older than 50. There have been three hospitalizations and no deaths.

(Reach Blair Emerson at 701-250-8251 or Blair.Emerson@bismarcktribune.com)

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Education and Health Reporter