ST PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Department of Health(MDH) has confirmed the first case of West Nile disease in a human in 2012.

A St. Louis County man became ill with West Nile encephalitis and meningitis in late May after traveling to south-central Minnesota. He was hospitalized and is recovering.

The highest risk for infection is mid-summer through early autumn. The species of mosquito that most often infects humans is most active in late July and August.The greatest risk is for western and central counties in Minnesota though cases are possible anywhere in the state.

The MDH urges people to protect themselves from this potentially life-threateningdisease by routinely using mosquito repellants and to take other simple precautions.

Here are some of the suggestions from the MDH:

• Repellents containing DEET (up to 30 percent concentration) are still the most widely used and can provide long-lasting protection against mosquito bites.

• Permethrin is a strong repellent and will kill mosquitoes that come into contact with treated clothing. Repellents containing permethrin are applied to clothing (not skin). Treated clothing can be worn after the repellent dries.

• Effective alternatives to DEET or permethrin include repellents containing picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535.

• For maximum effectiveness and safety, all mosquito repellents should be used according to label directions.

Other important steps to prevent mosquito bites and serious illness fromWest Nile Virusinclude:

• Minimize outdoor activities at dusk and dawn, as this is prime feeding time for WNV-carrying mosquitoes. If you go outside at these times, take precautions even if mosquito numbers seem low; it only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to transmit the virus.

• Wear loose-fitting, long-sleeve shirts and long pants if you must spend time in an area where mosquitoes are biting.

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