Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reminds residents to be on the lookout for West Nile virus

Grant Underwood

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WELD COUNTY, CO – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment detected the West Nile virus for the first time this season on July 8. West Nile virus-infected mosquitos have been collected in the Weld County area. The researchers will test mosquitos on a regular basis to detect the spread of the West Nile virus.

Last month, Colorado began testing weekly mosquitos for the West Nile virus. Counties or municipalities trap adult mosquitoes and send them to laboratories for testing, providing an estimate of the virus's prevalence. The results aid in determining the area's risk to humans. Since not all counties and municipalities test for mosquitoes, it is critical for all Coloradans to take precautions during the summer.

Later on, this data would be beneficial to prevent infection toward humans. Unfortunately, the test was not done by all counties and municipalities, so all the residents of Colorado must take precautions stop prevent the spread.

Human West Nile virus cases were most reported during August and September in Colorado. Last year, there were 32 West Nile virus cases on humans with one death case. People over 60 and those with underlying health conditions are the ones who are most vulnerable to this virus. The tricky thing about the West Nile virus is that most people who get infected don’t show any symptoms. Only 20% of the cases show flu-like symptoms and less than 1% show serious illness.

“When the virus is present, people are at risk, but there are simple precautions people can take to protect themselves,” said Deputy state epidemiologist, Jennifer House. “Use an effective insect repellent, wear protective clothing, or stay indoors when mosquitoes are active, and mosquito-proof your home.”

The Department of Public Health and Environment advises wearing long sleeves and limiting outdoor activity in areas where mosquitos are most active. Using insect repellent can also help protect the skin from mosquito bites. Insect repellent can also be used on clothing and possibly in areas where mosquitos live.

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