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North Dakota reports first West Nile death of season

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The North Dakota Department of Health on Friday announced the state’s first death related to West Nile Virus in 2021.

The disease claimed the life of a southwest North Dakota resident who was over the age of 60, the department said.

There have been 19 West Nile cases in 13 counties. Ten people have been hospitalized. Most people infected by the virus have no symptoms or only mild symptoms such as fever and headache. More severe cases can cause high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, altered mental state and death.

There were seven West Nile cases and no deaths in the state in 2020, the department said.

Precautions against the mosquito bites that can cause West Nile include the use of insect repellents; wearing protective clothing; limiting outdoor activities at dusk and dawn; eliminating stagnant water where mosquitoes lay eggs; installing and maintaining window screens; and maintaining a well-trimmed yard.

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