BISMARCK– The North Dakota Department of Health has seen a steep rise in reported West Nile virus cases in the past week and are reminding people to continue taking precautions against mosquito bites.

As of Wednesday, Aug. 8, North Dakota reported 18 human cases, up 14 cases since July 30. In addition to human cases, one horse, 10 birds and 34 mosquito pools have also tested positive for the virus.

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“People should be aware of the increase in mosquitoes spreading West Nile virus and take proper precautions to protect themselves from bites,” said Jenny Galbraith, epidemiologist with the NDDoH, said in a statement.

To reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes, the state health department recommends using insect repellent that contains DEET, limiting outdoor activities between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most likely to bite, wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts outdoors when possible, eliminating stagnant water and leaf debris in containers around homes, repairing screens in windows and doors on homes to keep the pests out and keeping the grass around homes trimmed.