NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) – The West Nile virus season begins today, and the Montgomery County Health Department is advising residents to take precautions to reduce their chances of contracting the disease.

The season runs from April 1st through October 31st, and at this point officials say it’s too early to say how severe the season will be.  That depends on how wet or how dry the spring and summer seasons are.

Health Department spokeswoman Harriet Morton says the best defense against West Nile virus is eliminating sources of standing water.

“(Residents) want to dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, similar water-holding containers,” she advises. “If they have a recycle container, they want to drill holes in the bottom of that.”

The disease is transmitted between birds and mosquitoes, but humans can contract the disease if they’re bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms include fever, headaches, nausea, and swollen lymph nodes.

Morton says testing will be done throughout Montgomery County to determine if spraying is necessary to eliminate infected mosquitoes.

Reported by Brad Segall, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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