A Dassel resident says his doctor has confirmed that he has been infected with the West Nile virus.
Nathan Lieberg, who lives about 2 1/2 miles north of Dassel on the north side of Long Lake, says he contracted the virus about a month ago, but his doctor confirmed it just last week (Friday, August 24th).
Because of privacy policies, the Minnesota Department of Health would neither confirm or deny the case.
The 55-year-old Lieberg says he’s letting the media know about his case so others in the area will be aware of the potential risk.
Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) officials say to protect yourself from this potentially life-threatening disease, Minnesotans should routinely use mosquito repellents and take other simple precautions against mosquito bites.
David Neitzel, an MDH epidemiologist specializing in diseases carried by mosquitoes, said that the highest risk for WNV is expected from mid-summer through early autumn. “Sporadic early-season cases can occur, such as this first 2012 case,” Neitzel said. “However, the species of mosquito that transmits the virus to humans is most abundant in July and August.
Anyone not already using repellents should begin doing so now to prevent this severe disease.”
About 1 out of 150 people bitten by WNV-infected mosquitoes will develop central nervous system disease (encephalitis or meningitis). Approximately 10 percent of people with this severe form of infection die from their illness, and many survivors suffer from long-term nervous system problems. Fortunately, most people bitten by infected mosquitoes develop West Nile fever, the less severe form of disease, or fight off the virus without any symptoms.