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First human case of West Nile virus reported in Colorado for 2020

West Nile Virus Deep Look / CC BY-SA 4.0
West Nile Virus Deep Look / CC BY-SA 4.0(MGN Deep Look / CC BY-SA 4.0)
Published: Aug. 14, 2020 at 2:49 PM MDT
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DELTA, Colo. (KKTV) - The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) sent out a notice on Friday for the first reported human case of West Nile virus.

The patient lives in Delta County and the state first received confirmation of the case on Wednesday. West Nile virus is commonly transmitted from the bite of an infected mosquito.

In 2019, Colorado had 122 reported human cases of West Nile virus, including eight deaths.

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

“Most people infected with West Nile virus don’t have symptoms,” Deanna Herbert the Communications Specialist for CDPHE wrote in a release. “About 20% of infected people will have flu-like symptoms, and fewer than 1% develop a serious, potentially deadly illness. People over age 60 and those with certain medical conditions are at greater risk of serious illness. See a health care provider if you develop severe headaches or confusion.”

Weekly mosquito testing for West Nile virus began statewide in June. Counties or municipalities trap adult mosquitoes, and labs test them,  providing an estimate of the number that are infected. As of Friday, West Nile virus-positive mosquitoes have been found in Larimer, Delta and Weld Counties. Not all counties test for the virus.

INFORMATION ON HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM WEST NILE VIA CDPHE:

  • Use insect repellents when you go outdoors. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus, and para-menthane-diol products provide the best protection. Follow label instructions.
  • Limit outdoor activities at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus are most active.
  • Wear protective clothing (long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and socks) in areas where mosquitoes are active. Spray clothes with insect repellent for extra protection.

HOW TO MOSQUITO-PROOF YOUR HOME:

  • Drain standing water around your house often. Empty water from tires, cans, flowerpots, clogged gutters, rain barrels, birdbaths, toys, and puddles.
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors.

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