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With warmer weather on the way, officials with the Wyoming Department of Health are warning people about the dangers of West Nile Virus.

Katie Bryan, who is an epidemiologist with the department, said mosquitoes spread the virus when they feed on infected birds and then bite people, animals, or other birds.

Bryan says many people who are infected with the virus don’t even know it. Among those who do get sick, common symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph nodes.

A smaller number develop West Nile neuroinvasive disease, with symptoms including a severe headache, fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors convulsions, and paralysis.

The disease can occasionally be fatal. Since the virus was first reported in Wyoming in 2002, the death toll has ranged from zero one year to as many as nine in another.

Bryan says the overall number of West Nile cases may be under-reported, because people may not be tested for the virus unless they are seriously ill.

Read More: Wyoming Health Officials Issue West Nile Virus Warning

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