Health officials say mosquitoes in Pueblo County have tested positive for West Nile Virus.
They say this should remind everyone to take precautions right away.
Earlier this month, El Paso County health officials confirmed West Nile in mosquitoes from the Fountain Valley area. And 3 human cases have already been reported in other parts of Colorado this year.
Read the official release from Pueblo County health officials below:
Pueblo-Officials from the Pueblo City-County Health Department confirmed mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile virus in Pueblo County.
"We know for certain that the mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus are in Pueblo County, it is very important that every individual take precautions and avoid the West Nile virus illness," said Dr. Christine Nevin-Woods, executive director of the Pueblo City-County Health Department.
The Pueblo City-County Health Department has been trapping and testing mosquitoes since May 2007 and began spraying for mosquitoes May 2007. The schedule for mosquito spraying can be found on the health department's web site at www.pueblohealthdept.org.
Nevin-Woods advised all individuals to protect themselves in the backyard and the backwoods from West Nile virus by following the Four D's:
· DRAIN: Eliminate standing water in tires or similar water-holding containers as these may serve as mosquito breeding sites. Change the water in birdbaths, empty tires or flower pots, at least weekly.
· DUSK AND DAWN: Avoid outdoor activities, such as gardening, at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
· DEET, picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are effective ingredients to look for in insect repellents. Always follow label instructions for application.
· DRESS: If outside during the periods when mosquitoes are most active, cover up by wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, shoes and socks.
The Health Department is spraying public parks and outdoor public gathering areas weekly. The department's website (www.pueblohealthdept.org ) has information showing the day of the week areas will be sprayed. A full city-wide spraying, including parks and neighborhoods in the city, will be done the week of July 30. Spray schedules may change due to inclement weather. City residents may find out when their neighborhood is being sprayed or decline mosquito spraying at their house by calling 583-4323. Boone, Pueblo West and Colorado City have their own spray schedule.
The Health Department will continue investigating and treating standing water throughout Pueblo to reduce mosquito activity. The Health Department request individuals remove standing water on their property to reduce breeding areas for mosquitoes.
Although spraying is occurring, it is important that individuals take personal responsibility to decrease the risk of getting mosquito bites. Individuals can reduce or repel mosquitoes from their yard by applying over-the-counter products sold at home and garden stores (follow the directions on the product).
West Nile virus develops in the human body within 5-14 days after a bite from an infected mosquito. All forms of West Nile virus can be serious including fever, meningitis and encephalitis, and have potential for causing long-term illness and disability. West Nile virus can affect any age group. Symptoms of West Nile virus may include fever, fatigue, headache, muscle weakness, rash, stiff neck or changed mental state. Some infected persons experience a feeling of extreme tiredness and weakness for several weeks. Promptly seek medical attention from a physician if you have any of these symptoms.
When using repellent always follow the recommendations appearing on the product label. Repellents containing these active ingredients typically provide longer-lasting protection than others:
· Oil of lemon eucalyptus (a plant- based repellent).
According to the label, oil of lemon eucalyptus products should not be used on children under three years. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics repellents with DEET should not be used on infants less than two months old.
Additional information about West Nile virus can be found at Colorado state and local health departments' website www.FightTheBiteColorado.com
Information also can be obtained by calling the toll-free Colorado Help Line, 1-877-462-2911, which is staffed by trained professionals from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays and operates on a reduced schedule on weekends and holidays.