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2 Coloradans die from West Nile virus in Boulder, Larimer counties

The recent deaths in Boulder and Larimer counties bring the total of West Nile virus-related deaths to five in Colorado.

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. — Two people in Colorado recently died after contracting West Nile virus, bringing the total to five people who have died of the virus this year statewide.

A Larimer County resident died from neuroinvasive West Nile virus late last month, the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE) said Tuesday. This is the county's first West Nile death of the year. The health department said the 66-year-old resident who died had been hospitalized since the end of July.

Boulder County also said Tuesday afternoon it had recorded its first West Nile virus death of the year. The Longmont resident had developed meningoencephalitis caused by the virus.

LCDHE reported there have been 29 confirmed cases of West Nile so far this year, including eight people who needed to be hospitalized. Across the state this year, 72 people have been affected, 41 people have required hospitalization and three people have died, according to Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) data.

"Unfortunately, we will likely continue to see cases of West Nile virus for the next month or two," said Larimer County Public Health Director Tom Gonzales. "We continue to see positive pools of mosquitoes from the weekly trapping and testing. Therefore, we urge residents to take this disease seriously and take extra precautions to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes."

The disease spreads when mosquitoes bite infected birds and then the insects bite humans. The disease cannot be transmitted from human-to-human. Symptoms of the disease can begin three to 14 days after being infected, LCDHE said. 

Symptoms may include:

  • fever plus headache
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • muscle aches
  • joint pain
  • weakness
  • rash

Health officials said residents need to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites. They said to practice the 4 D's:

  • Defend – Use effective mosquito repellent. Products should either contain DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (also called p-menthane-3,8-diol or PMD) and IR3535.
  • Dusk to Dawn - Avoid exposure during peak mosquito feeding times, from dusk through dawn.
  • Dress - Wear long sleeves and pants to keep mosquitoes from biting.
  • Drain – Remove standing water in your yard or garden to minimize mosquito breeding areas.

The health department has more tips to prevent contracting West Nile Virus here.

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