Cheyenne Laramie County Public Health on Friday announced the first human case of West Nile virus in the county this year.

West Nile virus is spread when mosquitoes feed on infected birds and then bite people and animals.

"A bite from an infected mosquito can cause severe illness and, in some instances, death," Jennifer Escobedo, Interim Director of Environmental Health Services said in a press release.

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"Not everyone infected with West Nile virus will become ill, but those who do can have symptoms that range from a mild flu-like illness to a more serious condition such as encephalitis or meningitis," Escobedo added.

Health officials recommend people protect themselves from mosquitoes by staying indoors during dawn and dusk, covering up as completely as possible when outdoors for long periods, draining standing water, and using an insect repellent containing DEET.

"The professionals with Cheyenne Weed and Pest and the Cheyenne Laramie County Public Health's Mosquito Control Program are doing their utmost to protect the community," said Escobedo.

"We ask that you do your part in checking your property to eliminate any standing water where mosquitos could breed," she added.

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