WELD COUNTY, Colo. — An 80-year-old Weld County resident, who had been hospitalized, died from neuroinvasive West Nile Virus, according to the county health department.
The Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment said the man's death is the first confirmed West Nile death during the 2022 mosquito season in the county.
“West Nile virus symptoms can appear 2-14 days after an infection,” said Val Smith, Communicable Disease Program Manager at the health department. “Although 80% of infected people do not develop symptoms, for some, initial symptoms can include fever plus headache, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, joint pain, weakness, and a rash. If a person develops symptoms after being bitten by mosquitoes, they should see a health care professional immediately.”
There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent West Nile virus infection, according to health officials. Less than 1% of infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neuroinvasive illness.
The best defense is to do the following:
- Drain standing water around your home.
- Limit outdoor activities and dress in long sleeves and pants at dusk and dawn, when culex mosquitoes are most active.
- Use insect repellents that contain DEET.
“With the colder weather just around the corner, the first frost will knock out many mosquitoes," Smith said.
To date, 20 Weld County residents have tested positive for West Nile virus this season. The residents who tested positive are not just from one area within the county.
“WNV is endemic in Colorado — meaning you can get the virus any place that infected mosquitoes live and breed,” Smith said.
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