Montrose County Health & Human Services officials confirm that two residents have died due to complications with the West Nile Virus.
The deaths are part of the county's six documented cases this year - the first confirmed since 2005.
"The vast majority of people who become infected with West Nile are asymptomatic and have no symptoms," Montrose County Environmental Manager Randy Swepston said. "The patients died last week."
The deaths linked to the virus in Montrose County are the first two in the state this year.
In the wake of this news, health officials are continuing their aggressive warnings to residents. Delta County is joining Montrose in those efforts because it has seen 17 cases so far in 2012.
Even though no one has died there as of yet, both counties combine to make up about 55% of the total cases in Colorado.
"We're not exactly sure why the cases are so localized, but I think there will be some studies going on in the off season to try and determine why that may exist," Swepston said.
Because of departmental policy, health officials would not discuss specifics surrounding these two deaths or identify the deceased. The Montrose Daily Press reports one of the victims is an elderly woman.
As a result of these deaths, officials continue to advise residents to take the necessary precautions of protection including:
- Drain standing water on property at least every 5-7 days to reduce mosquito breeding potential.
- Dusk and Dawn- avoid being outdoors at this time when mosquito activity is high.
- DEET is an effective ingredient to look for in mosquito repellent.
- Dress in long sleeves and pants during dusk and dawn and use insect repellent in areas where mosquitoes are active.
- Doors and Windows – make sure all that are left open in the house are tightly screened.
"We will get through this season and we will evaluate what we're doing and what we're going to do next year to approach that."
Officials say culex mosquitoes that carry West Nile will be active as long as the weather is warm.
Symptoms of an infection range from headaches to encephalitis, meningitis, and comas. Officials say if a person or someone in their family develops these symptoms, they should contact their health care provider immediately.
For more information on the West Nile Virus, you call the Colorado Help hotline at (877) 462-2911 or visit this website.