A Goshen County woman bitten by a mosquito carrying West Nile virus marks this year's first human case reported in Wyoming.

Kim Deti of the Wyoming Department of Health declined to provide further details on the woman or her condition, but said the case was reported Tuesday.

West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes that feed on infected birds, such as the woodpecker found in Laramie July 20, then bite people, animals or other birds.

Most people infected with West Nile virus do not present symptoms, though symptoms can include fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph nodes.

Very few people who are infected develop West Nile neuroinvasive disease and present symptoms such as severe headache, fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, coma and paralysis.

"Wyoming residents should remember to take steps to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites," says Katie Bryan, department epidemiologist.

Wyomingites should be aware of the five Ds of West Nile virus prevention:

  • 1) Dawn and 2) Dusk -- Mosquitoes prefer to feed at these times, so avoid spending time outside in the morning and evening hours.
  • 3) Dress -- Wear shoes, socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt outdoors. Ideal clothing is light-colored and made of tightly-woven materials.
  • 4) Drain -- Mosquitoes breed in shallow, stagnant water. Reduce the amount of standing water by draining and/or removing it.
  • 5) DEET -- Use an insect repellent containing DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide). Be sure to read the label and follow instructions. Other insect repellents such as Picaridin (KBR 3023) or oil of lemon eucalyptus can also be effective.

The department says West Nile virus first appeared in Wyoming in 2002. Since then, reported human cases each year have ranged from two cases reported with no deaths to 393 cases reported with nine deaths.