West Nile Virus Strikes Again

By: AP
By: AP

Health officials are reporting the third human case of West Nile virus in the state this season, amid signs that this could be a bad year for the illness in Colorado.

The latest victim is a Boulder County resident, but state officials won't say any more.

The Camera newspaper reports on its Web site that the victim is a 54-year-old man, who lives in the eastern part of the county.

State epidemiologist John Pape says the number of Culex mosquitoes, which transmit the disease, is --quote-- "extremely high for this time of year and rising rapidly."

Infected mosquitoes have been found in Boulder, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer, Logan, Mesa, Otero, Prowers and Weld counties.

The state's worst year for West Nile was 2003, with two-thousand-947 confirmed human cases, including 63 deaths.

Since the virus was first detected in Colorado in August 2002, the state has recorded three-thousand-706 human cases and 76 deaths.

Health officials say the total number of human cases is much higher because only a small proportion of people who are infected feel sick.

Symptoms include fever, headache and neck stiffness.

In more serious cases, blindness, paralysis and inflammation of the brain have been reported.

The previous Colorado victims this year include a 51-year-old who lives in Logan County in northeast Colorado and a resident of Cheyenne County in eastern Colorado.

No other information about them was released.

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