Second West Nile virus case reported in county

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 16, 2002

The second case of the West Nile disease virus has been confirmed in Mower County.

The victim is a 69-year-old Austin woman, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

The MDH notified Margene Gunderson, Mower County community health services director, of the laboratory-confirmed infection Oct. 9.

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No other details of the woman's condition were released.

Mower County's first confirmed case of the virus was reported Sept. 30, when a 48-year-old Austin man was confirmed by MDH laboratory tests to have the West Nile virus.

That victim is known to be recovering from the virus at his home.

There have been no confirmed deaths attributed to the virus in Minnesota although the number of confirmed cases continues to grow as well as the number of infected counts, the MDH said.

Gunderson stressed the disease is not contagious and cannot be transmitted from one human to another.

The mosquito-borne virus infects its victims with flu-like symptoms, but it is not immediately considered life-threatening.

The recent below-freezing temperatures are expected to eradicate the Minnesota mosquito population, but, "We're going to have to deal with this again next spring and summer when it warms up again," said Gunderson.

Also, Gunderson noted those Minnesotans fleeing the Upper Midwest's winter weather can expect to have to deal with the hardy mosquito species when they go south to warm climates.

No longer is the MDH conducting laboratory analysis of dead birds found by citizens.

The appearance of dead crows or even crows and other birds "acting delirious" and showing tremors was one of the first tell-tale signs of a possible West Nile infection in the bird.

Any questions about the West Nile virus should be directed to health care professionals such as Gunderson (437-9770) or Bill Buckley, the Mower County environmental health services director (437-9527).

Lee Bonorden can be contacted at 434-2232 or by e-mail at