First human West Nile case of the year reported in Colorado
Colorado recorded its first human case of West Nile virus this year, and the state health department advised residents to take precautions against mosquito bites.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said it received a report Wednesday that a Delta County resident was infected with West Nile. The person was hospitalized, according to state data.
Last year, 122 people tested positive for West Nile in Colorado, and eight died.
The main way the virus spreads is through mosquito bites. People can’t give it to each other, except through blood transfusions, breastfeeding or transmission from mother to fetus.
Infected mosquitoes have been found in Larimer, Delta and Weld counties. Not all counties trap and test mosquitoes, however, so the state health department advises everyone to take precautions:
- Use insect repellent when you go outside. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol provide the best protection.
- Limit outdoor activities near dawn or dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
- Wear long sleeves, long pants and socks in areas where mosquitoes live and spray your clothes with repellent.
- Drain standing water around your house, including in tires, cans, flowerpots, birdbaths and rain barrels.
- Keep window and door screens in good repair.
Most people don’t experience any symptoms of West Nile virus. About one in five people bit by an infected mosquito develop moderate symptoms like fever, aches, vomiting, diarrhea or a rash, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
One in 150 people develop an infection of the nervous system that could be life-threatening. People older than 60 and those with chronic conditions are at higher risk of a severe case. If you or someone you know develops severe headaches or unusual confusion, call a doctor, because it could be a sign of a nervous system infection or another serious illness.
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