WELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) — An adult living in Mead is in the hospital for neuro-invasive West Nile Virus — a rare and sometimes fatal form of the illness.

It’s the first human case of the virus in Colorado for the 2018 mosquito season.

According to the Department of Public Health and Environment, the Mead resident became ill on July 27 and was hospitalized the next day. Tests results confirmed West Nile Virus Thursday.

Officials say the risk for human infection still relatively low but is expected to increase in the coming weeks.

“The recent wet and increasing hot weather has created the perfect conditions for the Culex mosquito that carries West Nile Virus,” Mark E. Wallace, Executive Director of the Weld County Health Department, stated in a press release. “It’s extremely important to avoid getting bit by mosquitoes.”

A culex tarsalis mosquito (credit: nathistoc.bio.uci.edu)

“Many municipalities have established mosquito control programs, but “the public needs to be vigilant, because this illness has a permanent summer presence in our state,” Wallace stated.

West Nile Virus symptoms can appear 3 to 14 days after an infection. Initial symptoms can include fever, headache, nausea and vomiting, muscle aches and weakness and rash.

Most infected people don’t exhibit any symptoms but if you do you should see a healthcare professional immediately. Less than one percent of infected people develop the neuro-invasive form of the illness.

There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent infection.

Health officials recommend following the four “D’s” to prevent mosquito bites:

  • DRAIN standing water around your house weekly. Remember to drain water from tires, cans, flowerpots, clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, toys and puddles.
  • DUSK and DAWN are when mosquitoes are most active. Limit outdoor activities and take precautions to prevent mosquito bites during these times.
  • DEET is an effective ingredient to look for in insect repellents. Other repellents containing picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol are also effective against mosquitoes. Always follow label instructions carefully.
  • DRESS in long sleeves and pants in areas where mosquitoes are active.
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