West Nile Virus reaches western Colorado

Mosquitos carry West Nile Virus, so its important to know the risks and to take prevention...
Mosquitos carry West Nile Virus, so its important to know the risks and to take prevention while outdoors.(Егор Камелев)
Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 12:23 PM MDT
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DELTA, Colo. (KJCT) - Delta County Health Department has reported its first case of West Nile Virus in a person for the year of 2022. The infected woman is reported to be in her 80′s.

The Colorado Department of Public Health reported that in 2021, Colorado had 175 human cases of West Nile Virus, including 11 deaths.

In addition, West Nile Virus has been reported in Boulder, Larimer, and Weld counties this season.

“We urge Coloradans to protect themselves against West Nile Virus,” said Dr. Natalie Marzec, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “This disease is spread primarily by mosquito bites. Coloradans can protect themselves by using effective insect repellent, wearing protective clothing that minimizes exposed skin, or staying indoors when mosquitoes are active.”

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health, most individuals infected with WNV do not show symptoms. About 20% of infected people display symptoms that replicate flu or flu-like illness. Fewer than 1% develop more severe illness that could potentially lead to death.

WNV can be present in all ages, but show higher risk for severe disease in people above the age of 60. You should see a health care provider if you begin experiencing confusion or develop severe headaches.

Delta County Heath Department encourages the public to take prevention against exposure.

To protect yourself:

  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered repellants insect repellants outdoors.
  • Limit activity outdoors during dusk and dawn, when mosquitos are most active.
  • Wear long pants, long-sleeve shirts, and socks when outdoors. Spray clothes with insect repellant for further protection.

To mosquito-proof your home:

  • Drain standing water from tires, flowerpots, cans, clogged gutters, birdbaths, and toys at least once a week.
  • Install or repair screens on doors and windows.

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