FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – More and more Coloradans are getting West Nile virus. Eighty-three cases have been reported from the Front Range over to the Four Corners.

A man from Longmont recently became the first West Nile death of the season, but one county alone — Larimer — is home to more than 50 cases.

Right now the risk for contracting the West Nile virus in Northern Colorado is extremely high.

“We believe we have 51 actual cases and we believe we have three blood donors who have been tracked,” Adrienne LeBailly with the Larimer County Health Department said.

Fifty-one cases is up from 30 last week. Eight of them are of the deadliest form affecting the brain, spine and other complications.

“The most neuroinvasive serious cases we’ve had has been 10, and I am quite confident we will be over that this summer,” LeBailly said.

Experts say the landscape in Northern Colorado is breeding the problem.

“You have a large urban population here along the Front Range with irrigated agriculture and other potential mosquito habitats nearby,” Dr. Chet Moore said.

Standing water on irrigated land and sod farms provide the source for culex mosquitoes that transmit the virus.

“Proximity to good mosquito habitat and concentration of susceptible people,” Moore said.

Spraying insecticide and killing mosquito larva should help curb the growth of new cases, but finding a cure is still well out of reach.

“We are not very confident at all that there will ever be a human vaccine,” Moore said.


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