The Wyoming Department of Health is reminding people about the dangers of West Nile Virus during the summer months.

WDH Epidemiologist Katie Bryan says mosquitos spread West Nile Virus (WNV) when they feed on infected birds and then bite people, animals or other birds. While many people who contract the virus don't even realize they are sick, in other cases it can be serious or even fatal.

Symptoms of the more serious cases can include severe headaches, fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, and paralysis.

Wyoming has had as many as 393 cases of the virus and nine deaths, to as few as two cases and no deaths in recent summers. The Health Department urges people to follow the "5 Ds" of West Nile Virus prevention:

"1) DAWN and 2) DUSK - Mosquitos that spread WNV prefer to feed at dawn or dusk, so avoid spending time outside during these times.
3) DRESS - Wear shoes, socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt outdoors. Clothing should be light-colored and made of tightly woven materials.

4) DRAIN - Mosquitos breed in shallow, stagnant water. Reduce the amount of standing water by draining and/or removing.

5) DEET - Use an insect repellent containing DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide). When using DEET, be sure to read and follow label instructions. Other insect repellents such as Picaridin (KBR 3023) or oil of lemon eucalyptus can also be effective."

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