WELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Health officials have identified the first human cases of West Nile Virus this season in Weld County. Both adults are recovering at home and neither was hospitalized, according to officials.
Earlier this week in Larimer County, two people were diagnosed with West Nile Virus in Wellington and Fort Collins. This season, mosquitoes have also tested positive for the virus in Brighton and Adams County.
“Even though summer is ending soon, the public still needs to prevent mosquito bites” said Mark E. Wallace, MD, MPH, Executive Director of the Weld County Health Department. “The public needs to remain vigilant, until the first hard frost in late September or early October which knocks the mosquito population way down.”
West Nile Virus symptoms can appear 2 to 14 days after a bite from an infected mosquito. Initial symptoms can include fever, headache, nausea and vomiting, muscle aches and weakness and rash, but most infected people don’t exhibit any symptoms. If a person develops symptoms, he or she should see a healthcare professional immediately.
There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent WNV infection. Less than one percent of infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neuro-invasive illness.
Health officials recommend following the four “D’s” to prevent mosquito bites:
1) DRAIN standing water around your house weekly. Remember to drain water from tires, cans, flowerpots, clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, toys and puddles.
2) DUSK and DAWN are when mosquitoes are most active. Limit outdoor activities and take precautions to prevent mosquito bites during these times.
3) 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.
4) DRESS in long sleeves and pants in areas where mosquitoes are active.
Mosquito traps in Weld County found the vector index—a calculation to determine human risk for West Nile infection—has increased.
To view the latest Vector Index results in Weld County, visit weldgov.com.