July 15, 2021 4:49 PM
Colorado Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile
(July 15, 2021) – Last week, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) announced that West Nile virus (WNV) has been detected in mosquitoes in Weld County in Northern Colorado.
This is the first detection of the summer season in the state which has had cases of West Nile virus every year since 2002. The state detected the virus during routine seasonal testing performed to inform preventative measures.
As of July 5, no human cases of the West Nile virus have been reported. During the summer of 2020, 35 cases of the virus in humans were detected leading to one death. Most people infected with the virus do not develop any symptoms.
West Nile virus is commonly spread through bites from infected mosquitoes and cannot be transmitted from person to person unless through a blood transfusion or organ transplant. The risk of infection is highest for people who work outside or participate in outdoor activities, because of greater exposure to mosquitoes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around one in five people who have been infected with the virus develop West Nile fever. Symptoms can begin within 2 to 14 days from the day of the bite. Symptoms include:
According to the CDPHE, the most effective way to prevent West Nile virus disease is to prevent mosquito bites. Key preventative measures include draining standing water, dressing with ample clothing for the outdoors, and employing defenses like insect repellent.
To protect yourself:
- Use insect repellents when you go outdoors. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide the best protection. Follow label instructions. Limit outdoor activities at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus are most active.
- Wear protective clothing (long pants, long-sleeved shirts and socks) in areas where mosquitoes are active. Spray clothes with insect repellent for extra protection.
To mosquito-proof your home:
- Drain standing water around your house often. Empty water from tires, cans, flowerpots, clogged gutters, rain barrels, birdbaths, toys, and puddles.
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors.
About 1 in 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness. The virus can cause a serious brain infection such as meningitis or encephalitis which can result in permanent brain damage or death. The elderly and those with underlying immunosuppressive health conditions are at increased risk of severe complications from infection. There is neither a vaccine to prevent nor medications to treat the virus in people.
If symptoms of West Nile virus arise, contact a Primary Care Physician right away. Alternatively, San Miguel County Public Health is available for assistance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public Health has confirmed six new positive cases of COVID-19 from test results received from July 8 through 15. Of these cases, five are confirmed as residents and all actively contagious cases are currently in isolation. As of release time today, there are 5 active cases. To-date, there have been 931 total COVID cases among residents including 11 breakthrough cases and one COVID-related death. To learn more about the county’s current COVID-19 metrics, please visit the County COVID-19 dashboard.