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West Nile Cases Up in MN After Few Years’ Lull

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MINNEAPOLIS — The number of West Nile virus cases is rising in Minnesota after a four-year lull.

The Minnesota Department of Health says 18 cases have been reported in Minnesota this year, and a number of people have been hospitalized. That’s the first time the state’s number of cases has reached double digits since 2008, when 10 cases were reported.

That’s far from Texas-style numbers, where an outbreak of 200 cases prompted a state of emergency and aerial pesticide spraying in Dallas. But Health Department specialist Melissa Kemperman says Minnesota cases are likely to rise.

Officials say this year’s hot, dry weather may have contributed. Symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, pain and fatigue. About 1 in 150 people develop severe complications including a rare brain infection.

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