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First seasonal case of West Nile virus in Colorado

There are two cases of the virus, one in Delta County and the other in Larimer County.

COLORADO, USA — This season, the first cases of the West Nile virus (WNV)  have been reported in Colorado, with one in Delta County and the other in Larimer county, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) said Friday.

Both patients are recovering and expected to survive. 

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WNV is commonly spread by mosquitoes, said CDPHE, with mosquitoes positive for the virus found in Adams, Boulder, Delta, Denver, Larimer, and Weld counties this year.

“There are simple precautions people can take to protect themselves from West Nile virus,” said Dr. Jennifer House, deputy state epidemiologist and public health veterinarian. “Use an effective insect repellent, wear protective clothing, or stay indoors when mosquitoes are active, and mosquito-proof your home.”  

One person died, and 35 cases were reported of the WNV in 2020. 

Most people don't have symptoms, with 20% of infected people have flu-like symptoms, and fewer than 1% develop a serious, potentially deadly illness, CDPHE said.

Those over age 60 and others with certain medical conditions are at greater risk of serious illness. See a health care provider if you develop severe headaches or confusion. 

CDPHE gives these tips to protect yourself against WNV.

To protect yourself

  • 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 the 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 at least once every week. 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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