KEYC - Late Summer Brings West Nile Risk

Late Summer Brings West Nile Risk

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MANKATO, Minn. -

The Minnesota Department of Health is warning of a common danger flying around this time of year.

Late summer and early fall hold the highest risks for the spread of the West Nile virus by mosquitoes.

The mosquitoes that carry the virus thrive in open prairie and farm land, breeding in wetlands and drainage ditches.

According to state health officials, areas of western and central Minnesota are the most susceptible to the virus.

Only a small portion of people get sick from West Nile.

Eric Gomez, MD. with Mayo Clinic Health System Mankato, "When we see a flu like illness in the summer time when there's not supposed to be influenza that actually is a hint that we should be thinking of West Nile, so they get fevers, muscle aches, joint pains."

For less than a percent, it can lead to a serious brain infection.

Officials warn people who spend most of their time outside like farmers to take extra steps to prevent being bitten by an infected mosquito.

It is advised to avoid outdoor activities early and late in the day, remove standing water, wear long–sleeved clothing and use bug spray with DEET.

--KEYC News 12