West Nile virus appears in 6 Montana counties

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana health officials say West Nile virus has made its first appearance in the state this year.

The state Department of Health and Human Services, Carroll College and Montana State University confirmed mosquitoes with the virus in Cascade, Blaine, Prairie, Sheridan, Phillips and Teton counties.

Health department officials said in a statement Thursday a pelican also tested positive near Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Sheridan County.

There have been no human cases in Montana reported so far this year.

The agency says 174 human cases have been reported across the nation, with the highest rates in North Dakota and South Dakota.

Last year, six human cases of West Nile virus were reported in Montana, including one death.

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