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Human cases of West Nile virus reported in Larimer, Weld counties

Residents are reminded to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. — The first cases of West Nile virus in Larimer County and Weld County residents this season have been reported.

Two individuals with the virus reside in Berthoud and Fort Collins, according to the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE).

One individual in Weld County is also currently being monitored for suspected West Nile virus, said Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment (WCDPHE). The individual has experienced mild illness such as fever, fatigue, and body aches.

LCDHE said West Nile disease is a viral infection spread to people by bites from infected Culex mosquitoes.

The majority of people who get the virus don't develop symptoms, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). About 20% of those who are infected will have flu-like symptoms. Fewer than 1% develop a serious illness that can be deadly.

Last year, 175 human West Nile cases were reported in the state and 11 people died, according to CDPHE. In general, most cases in the state are reported in August and September.

CDPHE offered the following tips to protect yourself against mosquito bites:

  • Use insect repellents when you go outdoors. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol products provide the best protection. For more information about insect repellents, visit the EPA’s information webpage. Always follow label instructions.
  • Limit outdoor activities at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and socks in areas where mosquitoes are active. Spray clothes with insect repellent for extra protection.
  • Empty water from tires, cans, flowerpots, clogged gutters, rain barrels, birdbaths, toys and puddles at least once every week.
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors.

If you have severe headaches or confusion, especially after getting a mosquito bite, CDPHE said you should reach out to a health care provider. 

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