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West Nile Found In Grand Forks, Precautions You Can Take Against It

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Grand Forks, ND (WDAZ-TV)--Mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus have been found in Grand Forks county.

WDAZ's Kenneth Chase spoke directly with doctors to find out when you should head to the hospital.

A summer swarm --

"It worries me. I just brought my grandkids out today to play in the park and everything after their sunblock I put their mosquito spray on them," says Denise Pritchett, lives in Grand Forks

-- could be worse this year.

The Public Health Department has already found mosquitoes with West Nile Virus -- last year they only found the potentially deadly disease in birds.

"I mean yeah there is probably going to be more bugs and that just means more bug spray and when you go outside," says Katelyn Rudolph, lives in Grand Forks.

Doctors say that's the right idea.

Prevention is key.

Using sprays with DEET along with wearing long sleeves is a start.

But if you were to get bit today -- symptoms may not show up for weeks.

"It can be within a few days but it can linger for a few weeks after potential exposure so it may not be present for a while," says Dr. Ben Roth, Altru Health System.

And symptoms can be similar to other illnesses.

"Most commonly it's kind of what we call a nonspecific viral illness. So low rate fevers, headache, body ache, nausea," says Dr. Roth.

Doctors say you shouldn't hesitate to take your child into the clinic if they have a fever, just to have them checked.

And relief... will take longer than you hope. West Nile season could be twice as long as usual.

"We usually see this appear in July or August and so the fact that it's already appearing in the community now means that we're going to have a long season," says Debbie Swanson, Director of the Grand Forks Public Health Department.

Locals tell me they'll be spraying on more DEET this summer.

"I usually don't like the smell of it but yeah I'd rather take the smell than the disease," says Denise.