An adult from Campbell County has become Wyoming's first human case of West Nile virus this year.

The Wyoming Department of Health reported the case Monday.

"In past years, we typically haven't seen cases reported until late July or August," said Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit Manager Clay Van Houten.

"We don't think this early case necessarily means we're in for a tough season, but we want people to know they should protect themselves," he added.

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

Most people infected with the virus either don't have symptoms or have minor ones, such as fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph nodes.

A very small number develop a life-threatening illness that includes inflammation of the spinal cord or brain.

Health officials recommend people avoid spending time outdoors during dawn and dusk, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, drain standing water and use an insect repellent containing DEET to prevent mosquito bites.

Last year, four cases of West Nile virus were reported in Wyoming, including one death in Goshen County.

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