MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Pope County woman has become Minnesota’s first confirmed case of West Nile virus this year.

She was diagnosed with the virus on Aug. 2, according to David Nietzel with the Minnesota Department of Health.

He says most often, people can have it and not know it.

“Seventy-five percent of people that are bitten by a West Nile virus-infected mosquito, they fight off the virus without any symptoms whatsoever, and they’re fine,” Nietzel said. “About 20 percent of people end up with West Nile fever … with the headache, fever, muscle and joint aches, some people will have a little bit of a rash. But generally, not life threatening.”

Nietzel says the risk for West Nile virus appears to be lower this year than in many other years.

Still, he says, we are in the peak of the season.

“So folks [who] go outside at dusk or dawn, that’s a good time to consider wearing some mosquito repellant,” Nietzel said.

He says the risk will continue until the first frost in October.

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