The West Nile virus has been found in a person living in Pueblo County, health officials announced Thursday.
It is the first human case reported in the county this year. 11 News is told that the person infected is a middle-aged male. We're told he wasn't hospitalized and only suffered somewhat minor symptoms.
11 News spoke to Dr. Steven Milligan. He says to seek medical attention right away if you feel like you have been infected. He says in most cases you could have West Nile and never know it.
"Eighty percent of people who are infected with West Nile Virus have absolutely no symptoms and will never suffer any warm from the West Nile Virus," said Dr. Milligan.
Last month, state health officials reported that the virus had been found in mosquitoes in five Colorado counties. Pueblo County was not among those counties. Last year, seven people statewide died from the virus and 300 got sick. There were five reported cases in Pueblo County last year.
Health officials say that due to recent rainfall and the high water levels in Pueblo County rivers, the mosquito population could be on the rise. They urge the public to take every precaution when outside.
"It is very important every individual take precaution to avoid the West Nile virus illness," Dr. Christine Nevin-Woods, public health director of the Pueblo City-County Health Department, said.
An easy way to remember prevention tactics is remembering them as the four Ds:
-DRAIN standing water around your house weekly. Don’t forget to drain water from tires, cans, flowerpots, clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, toys and puddles.
-DUSK and DAWN are when mosquitoes that carry the virus are most active. Limit outdoor activities or take precautions to prevent mosquito bites during these times.
-DEET is an effective ingredient to look for in insect repellents. Always follow label instructions carefully. (Dr. Milligan agrees that "Deet" is an important ingredient to look for.)
-DRESS in long sleeves and pants in areas where mosquitoes are active.
If you have any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor immediately: fever, fatigue, headache, muscle weakness, rash, stiff neck, and changed mental state.
The Pueblo County Health Department also says they have set up mosquito traps all over the county. They said by next week they will know which areas have the largest populations.